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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

How to Protect and Maintain Your New Boat

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Owning a boat can bring great freedom, but it also means making time for maintenance. If your new boat is fiberglass, you will want to keep an eye on the Gelcoat. Metal boats need to be monitored for corrosion. Wooden boats need to be painted. No matter what, the interior needs to be kept as clean and dry as possible.

Prevent Water Damage

Once your boat comes out of the water, it needs to be washed. A good scrub will remove

  • water spots
  • oil and gas residue
  • salt deposits
  • algae

Once the boat has been washed, you will want to study the exterior. If you notice the paint is peeling or the fiberglass is losing its gloss, you will need to maintain the surface.

Protect Your Exterior

A wooden boat that is showing signs of paint loss will need to be sanded. Doing this by hand is the best way to make sure that you find all the rough spots so you can get a good quality seal with your primer.

If you notice that your fiberglass exterior is looking dull, it may be caused by the oxidation of the Gelcoat. You may need to use a cutting solution to remove the layer of oxidation before you polish and wax the boat to add vigor, shine, and strength to the Gelcoat.

Should you find that your metal boat components are showing rust, you will need to sand down to clear metal again and treat it with a corrosion blocking product. Be very careful when choosing your corrosion block; not everything works in saltwater and you may wind up having to remove it and reapply.

Protect Vinyl Interior

The interior of your boat will need attention each time you use it. Watercraft face constant exposure to moisture, and any dirt left on the flat surfaces of the inside of your boat can put you at risk of mildew. Be ready to spend time wiping down all the surfaces of the inside of your boat to make sure that no dirt remains. A damp cloth can manage any spots that are just dusty or dirty.

Should you notice mildew build-up, avoid using bleach. Use a product specific to cleaning vinyl and a stiff brush to scrub away stains from mildew. Once everything is clean and dry, consider adding a UV protectant formulated for vinyl and rubber. The sun can be as hard on the inside of your boat as water is on the exterior.

Keep Things Lubricated

After a day on the water, make sure you check the moving parts of your engine for lubrication. If you sail on saltwater, you will need to flush your engine to avoid the risk of destructive corrosion.

All of the mechanisms of your boat will need monitoring to make sure that any areas where metal slides against

  • other metal components
  • rubber seals
  • fiberglass fittings

have some lubricating protection. Take care to study up on optimum products for the conditions your boat has to deal with, including

  • temperature
  • salinity
  • pressure

Rust can quickly weaken critical connection points. It may also not be readily visible from the outside. Keep an eye on cables for signs of oxidation.

Don’t Wait on Repairs

It’s a good idea to learn to tinker when you own a boat. If you don’t have a lot of experience with small engines, sign up for a maintenance class. Learn to care for your batteries in the off-season and lay in a stock of extra parts that may cause problems if you have to wait for a shipment. If your mechanic recommends a particular product and you want to get it for your home use, take a photo so you can order in some extra.

From Gelcoat polish to a spare set of Yamaha outboard controls, make sure you have some extra products and the right tools to get on the water in a hurry.

Your boat can be your ticket to fun and freedom, especially as the temperature heats up. Leave time after each trip to the shore to clean, check out and dry your boat to avoid the need for more involved maintenance later.


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