Top 5 Maintenance Tasks For The New Boat Owner

Do you own a boat larger than a small motorboat? Is this the first year that you've owned a boat and you're still wondering what sort of work needs to be done on or to the boat? Here are some important maintenance tasks that need to be done to keep your boat in top running condition:

1. Hull cleaning: Although boats are specifically made to float and stay in the water, even larger boats need to be pulled from the water at least once a year and washed down. There are companies that you can hire for haul-outs services to pull your boat from the water.

They will then pressure wash the boat, in order to help remove damaging materials like barnacles or algae. If your hull is not cleaned properly and often enough, your boat's hull may become damaged enough to need repairs.

2. Hull repairs: After the haul-outs services have cleaned the bottom of your boat, you may discover that there is damage that you didn't know about. While this damage may be insignificant, it is better to get it taken care of quickly and before it becomes a serious problem. It will be much easier to effect repairs with your boat out of the water.

3. Test bilge pumps: Even the most seaworthy boats can take on water for a variety of reasons. Test your bilge pumps to make sure that they'll be able to remove any water necessary. Do you have manual backups, in case your gas powered bilge pump stops working? If not, you should add one. If you do, this also needs to be tested.

4. Engine maintenance: Just like your car, a boat's engine can need a tuneup. Check your spark plugs for signs of corrosion every time you use your boat and change your oil every 6-12 months, or as recommended by your engine manufacturer.

When your haul-outs services company has finished washing and repairing the hull of your boat, have your engine's propellers and your rudder inspected for damage. Small amounts of fishing line, seaweed, rope or other similar items could become fouled up on your boat without immediate notice, but have the potential to cause serious problems in the future.

5. Check safety equipment: All safety equipment should be checked at least once a month to ensure that it's still in good working order. All fire extinguishers should be checked and charged at least once a year. Your boat should have two anchors aboard, in case the first one is lost overboard or needs to be cut free.

You should have a life jacket for each person aboard and the life jackets should not show signs of deterioration like rips, holes or fraying. Check with your local boating authority for other safety equipment requirements in your area.