Taking a boat out on the open water is one of life’s greatest joys. But keeping a vessel in good condition is what ensures you can continue to enjoy it season after season. Even the smallest details like lubricating the zippers and snaps or using the correct cleaner and polish on PVC windows make a big difference. Here are some boat maintenance tips to protect your investment and keep it ship shape.
1. Make It Shine
The gel coat topping on your fiberglass boat probably looked amazing when you first purchased the craft. But it can look dull or chalky by the end of the season. To slow down the damage from the sun, salt, and other environmental factors, always wash your boat at the end of each outing. Twice per season, use gel coat polish, some elbow grease, and a non-scratchy brush or sponge for the smooth surfaces to remove oxidation (use a stiffer brush for non-skid surfaces). Then, buff it up with a wax to protect and seal the gel coat.
2. Save Your Seats
Vinyl upholstery is meant to withstand some UV and moisture exposure. But improper care can quickly wear out seat covers in a single season, causing them to crack or discolor. Mildew is a constant threat. Fortunately, a spray bottle filled with a 1:1 ratio of water and hydrogen peroxide can keep mold at bay. Don’t use bleach or ammonia since these products can deteriorate the vinyl. Regular scrubbing with water and a mild soap and soda mixture followed with a coat of vinyl protectant spray can prolong boat upholstery’s lifespan.
3. Preserve Wood Trim
Brightwork is typically made of teak wood, which holds up well under wet conditions. However, it will fade in the sun to a silvery gray color. You can allow this natural change to occur. Or, if you want to put in the effort, you can apply varnishes and sealants to protect the original, warm color of the trim. All wood details need to be washed gently, going against the grain to avoid digging ridges into the softer areas of wood.
4. Keep the Boat Running Right
Just like a car or a lawnmower, a boat needs to have the oil changed. Handle this routine maintenance once every 100 hours of operation (or at least once a year). After every trip, check the propeller for dents, nicks, or tangled fishing line. Correct these issues right away since a propeller problem can cause performance issues and break bearings or seals. For maintenance, use waterproof grease to prevent the propeller from freezing up.
5. Prevent Off-Season Damage
If you have space to store a boat on your property, this can save you a ton of money in storage fees over the winter. A carport style boat cover is a great option for storing your truck and boat together and keeps out the rain and bird droppings. A fully enclosed boat shed will help protect your craft from severe weather, vandalism, and much more. Keeping your boat in excellent condition will help preserve the resale value when you’re ready to trade it in for the latest model!
Peak Steel Buildings can help from designing your boat shed to getting the right permits and handling construction. Check out our garage and boat storage projects here.