As a boat owner, you no doubt take pride in your vessel. Whether you’re captain of a luxury yacht or an inflatable dinghy, your boat’s care is something to be proud of. And as a good captain, it’s your duty to take care of your watercraft and ensure that it stays seaworthy (or pond-worthy, as the case may be) for years to come. Read on for some simple ways to prolong the life of your boat.
It doesn’t matter if you’re storing your boat for the winter or just between trips to the lake. Proper boat storage is key. One of the first decisions you’ll make as a boat owner is whether to store your watercraft indoors or outdoors.
Indoor storage offers greater protection from rain, cold, wind, and harmful UV rays that can damage various components of your watercraft. Even if you’re storing your boat in your garage, you should still use a tarp or other watercraft cover. This helps keep moisture, dust, debris, and rodents out of your boat.
Keep your boat away from any sources of heat, like radiators. If you have a small craft like a kayak, consider installing a suspension system so it’s not at risk of falling. If you’re using indoor storage facilities, like a marina or a boatyard, look for one that includes services such as periodic maintenance and cleaning in the price, especially if you’re going to be storing your boat over the winter.
In fair-weather climates where you can get away with outdoor storage, taking the time to protect your boat from the elements is important. Look into a portable storage unit like a lightweight galvanized steel hut. And don’t skimp when it comes to purchasing your watercraft cover. Find a quality, water-resistant or waterproof tarp that’s made to fit your boat. You may even want to consider shrink-wrapping your vessel if it will be outside for long stretches of time.
If you have the maintenance know-how, develop a healthy habit of routine checkups. If you don’t, consider taking a maintenance class. In fact, many boat insurance companies offer discounts if you take certain classes.
Here are a few features on your boat that you should check regularly:
Boat hulls have a few persistent enemies: aquatic pests (think barnacles), algae, marine plants, and rust. All can cause fuel inefficiency, performance loss, and corrosive damage to your hull. You can prevent this by setting up a regular cleaning schedule that takes into account how much time your boat spends in the water. Here are a few things to consider:
Having adequate insurance protection is an important part of taking care of your boat as it gets on in years, so it may be a good idea to check your boat insurance coverage to make sure you’re protected.