Boat Maintenance

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Boat Maintenance

With the beginning of the summer and hopefully warmer weather, many of you will be using watercraft. Like automobiles, boats need preventative maintenance to ensure that they are always ready to perform at their optimum level. This blog will address the essential steps needed to prepare your boat for the season. 



-          Do a general cleaning of the boat using a mild detergent 

-          Make sure drains and scuppers are clear and well secured 

-          Put on a good coat of wax 

-          Clean and polish metal portions of the boat with a good metal polish 

-          Clean any teak and oil it accordingly, as well as canvas, bimini, and any windows or hatches 

-          Clean interior including bilges 

-          Check spare parts and tools and replace as necessary 

-          Make sure registration is current and on board the vessel, as well as your pleasure craft operators card 

-          Inspect the dock and anchor lines for fraying 

-          Update your charts and review your waterway guidelines 

-          Review your boat insurance 


Required Equipment for Lawful Boating 

-          Sound signaling device 

-          Check distress signals and their respective expiration dates 

-          Check PFD’s (life jackets) and inspect life rings 

-          Check the fire extinguisher and recharge it if necessary 

-          Check and adjust the compass, check navigation lights 

-          Check and replace first aid supplies 

-          Check the bailer and the hand pump 



Boat Hull 

-          Check for hull abrasions, scratches, gouges, and more, repair immediately 

-          Check for blistering and refinish where necessary 

-          Check rub rails, swim platform, and swim ladder 

-          Inspect and test trim tabs, check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut, and propeller 

-          Check the rudder and its fittings, along with all zincs 


Fittings, Safety Equipment, and Deck 

-          Check stanchion, pulpits, and lifelines for integrity 

-          Check fenders, docking lines, chain plates and cleats 

-          Inspect the hull/deck joint, as well as checking the deck, windows, and portlights for leaks 

-          Clean and grease any winches 


Below Decks 

-          Check conditions of hoses and clamps, making sure below water line hoses are double clamped 

-          Check bilge pumps for automatic and manual operation, while also checking the bilge tanks for oil 

-          Check any limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris 


Electrical System and Components 

-          Check the battery water level, recharge the batteries while also checking the terminals for corrosion and cleaning and lubricating them 

-          Inspect all wiring for wear and tear and chafing 

-          Test all gauges for operability 

-          Check shore power and charger while also checking for spare fuses 

-          Check all lighting fixtures making sure you have spare bulbs, while also checking all other electronics for proper operation 

-          Inspect antennas 


General Engine and Fuel System Maintenance  

-          Inspect fuel lines, including both the fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or cracking, while also checking that there are no leaks at the joints and that all lines are well supported with non-combustible clips or straps with smooth edges 

-          Inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps, and filters for any leaks. Any clamps should be free of rust and the fuel filter should be cleaned at this time 

-          Inspect all cooling hoses and fittings, and make sure they are double clamped and fit snugly 

-          Clean and tighten all electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables 

-          Inspect the bilge blower hose for any leaks 


Inboard Engine 

-          Change any oil and fuel filters and always have spare’s onboard 

-          If your boat has an internal cooling system, change the coolant and have extra available onboard 

-          Record an engine maintenance log, especially the date, time and the number of hours since the last oil change 

-          Check all belts for tension, check transmission fluid, check all impellers, and the bilge blower 


Outboard Engine 

-          Replace the spark plugs and check wires for wear 

-          Check the prop for nicks and bends 

-          Change/fill the gear lube and lubricate and spray any moveable parts on the motor 

-          Inspect fuel lines primer bulbs and the fuel tank for leaks 

-          Inspect the rubber outdrive bellows for cracked, dried and or deteriorated spots and replace if suspect 

-          Check the power steering and power trim oil levels, replace worn out zincs 

-          Inspect the outer jacket of control cables. Cracks or swelling indicate corrosion and mean that the cable has to be replaced 




-          Check for current trailer registration 

-          Inspect the rollers and pads and lubricate the wheel bearings, winch, and the tongue jack and wheel 

-          Test lights and electrical connections, check the tire pressure and the condition, don’t forget a spare 

-          Check the brakes, safety chains, tongue lock, and inspect the frame for rust and repair as required 


           As always we at HRC insurance hope that our blog was informative and provided you with a somewhat concrete plan for getting your boat ready for the season. As always safe boating and following all the rules and regulations of the water are the best way to have a safe and enjoyable time. Have Fun! 

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