Maintaining your Boat

There’s nothing more enjoyable than a day on the water. Don’t let it get spoiled by a breakdown. As a responsible boater, you should always plan ahead and properly maintain your boat and equipment. Inspect your boat regularly, at the beginning of each boating season and before every boating trip. Being familiar with basic repairs will help to ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers.

Boater Checking the Engine of his Boat

Being properly prepared and maintaining your boat and equipment will also alleviate unnecessary burden on search and rescue organizations such as the Canadian Coast Guard. You’ll also save time and money by reducing the chance of costly breakdowns.

Remember: The Criminal Code of Canada requires that you maintain your boat and equipment in seaworthy condition. It’s the law.

Click here to download a BOATsmart! Pre-season maintenance checklist!

Pre-Season Maintenance

Recommended inspections :

  • Check the hull and bilge for any damage including cracks and leaks
  • Check the condition and operation of the outdrive, including:
    • Shafts
    • Propeller (prop)
    • Nuts and pins
  • Check the operation and condition of all systems including:
    • Fuel, electrical and cooling systems
  • Check the condition of hoses and lines and replace worn, broken or cracked lines
  • Check the condition of the throttle control
  • Check all electrical connections–clean and tighten any corroded or loose connections
  • Check the condition of all navigation lights
  • Inspect and clean the engine’s flame arrestor with soap and water
  • Check and replace engine oil if necessary
  • Check and replace air and fuel filters if necessary
  • With the engine running, check the operation of all gauges and alternator for charging capacity
  • Check the condition of the battery (a fully charged battery should hold its charge for 24 hours)
  • If unfamiliar with maintenance procedures, you should take your boat to an authorized marine dealer for service.

Winterization and Storage

When preparing to winterize your craft, be certain to read your owner’s manual. If you are unsure of the appropriate winterization procedure for your type of boat, visit your local marine dealer for advice and service.

Winterized boat on a Trailer

The following is an overview of winterization and storage procedures:

Step 1) Use an environmentally-friendly marine detergent or algae remover to clean the hull of your craft.

Step 2) Empty the bilge of any excess water and clean it using soap and water (or a marine-grade bilge cleaner).

Step 3) Drain and flush the engine’s cooling system.

Step 4) Fill the boat’s fuel tank.

Step 5) Clean (or replace) the fuel filter.

Step 6) Remove the spark plugs and fog the engine cylinders with a rust inhibitor.

Step 7) Lubricate all moving parts.

Step 8) Clean off any excess grease, lubrication, dirt and marine life.