Spring is coming! And just like a grizzly beard, your boat needs a bit of oil and some good ol’ TLC, especially after the harsh Canadian winter we just had. Now you’d never hack away at your beard with a hedge trimmer, so don’t just spray the boat with the garden hose and load it in the lake. Let the DIY Boat Maintenance begin! Prepare your arsenal of tools, cleaning supplies, and general DIY skills and let’s get that hull smoother than a glassy morning lake.
There are a few sections we’re going to tackle, so think ahead and plan strategically for when you decide to start your boat maintenance project. If there’s something you know you can’t DIY, and you can’t find at your local Canadian Tire, save it for the professionals at a Boat Repair & Maintenance shop.
How to Perform Boat Maintenance at Home
On to the good stuff – let’s start at the heart! Your boat motor is a beast, albeit a confusing one. To keep it simple, here are some things you can do to get that motor purring before you hit the lake this summer:
Locate all parts in your Boat Owner’s Manual before you start your DIY project!
- Change the engine oil and filter- this will save you from corrosion, wasted fuel, and potential engine failure.
- Check the bilge blower for any leaks.
- Inspect fuel tanks and fuel pumps for leaks.
- Wire brush the battery terminals.
- Replace the spark plugs (and bring extras onboard for the season).
- Check the fuses for corrosion.
- Lubricate the moving parts.
- Check the fuel line and tank for any leaks.
It’s a smart idea to record the boat maintenance you do in a logbook. Use a checklist so you can keep track of any repairs you made, any notes you want to leave for yourself at season’s end, and so you’ll remember to maintain your boat on a regular, seasonal schedule!
How to Clean Your Boat at Home
Not to be ‘shallow’ but you should probably make sure your boat also looks like a ‘10’ this summer. To clean your boat properly at home and get it sparkling before launch:
Try and pick this boat up at the ‘sand bar’!
STEP 1: Give it a double coat of wax to ensure maximum sun protection during the summer months. Think of it as your boat’s sunblock! Good options are Collinite Marine Wax or TREWAX Boat Paste Wax. Be sure to use a soft bristled brush at the end to really make those chrome parts shine!
STEP 2: Scan the hull for blisters, chips, cracks, and/or chalky debris – make any small repairs, if needed.
STEP 3: Clean out the interior of the boat – vacuum up any sand, residue, and dust from every nook and cranny.
STEP 4: Test and wipe down the electronics – fishfinders, weather radars, GPS, compass, etc.
STEP 5: Analyze all wiring for loose cables, damage, and general wear.
STEP 6: Inspect the canvas/vinyl for holes, tears, and general cleanliness. If you suspect your canvas is going moldy, gently vacuum the entire surface and apply a marine industry-approved biocide spray.
Would you look at that shine?
You’ll know you’ve done a great job when you want to embark on a cross Canada boating trip just to show off how your boat shines and purrs as it cruises along those beautiful shorelines to the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of your fellow Canadian boaters. But before you leave, do a final triple-check to ensure you have all the required boating safety gear and equipment you will need on the boat, and that they’re in good working order. This could include:
- Sound Signalling Device
- Wallet Buoy
- Navigation lights
- Marine Blast Whistle
- First Aid Supplies
- Bailer/Hand Pump
- Rescue Throw Bag
- Fire Extinguisher
- 4N1 Safety Kit
- Maple Syrup (optional)
Congratulations! You’ve successfully DIY’d your spring boat maintenance, and saved a few bucks doing so. Last but not least, make sure your registration is current and on board. Lost your boating license? No worries, pick up a 3-pack of replacement cards and leave one on the boat, one at the cottage, and the other in your wallet so it doesn’t happen again!
Happy boating, Canada!