Owning a boat is a labor of love. It’s likely to cost a lot more and be much more work to maintain a personal watercraft than to maintain your automobile.
Yes, boats are a lot of work, and ensuring they run and perform well all starts before you even launch it for the season.
Here’s a look at a pre-launch boating checklist to ensure that you're maintaining your boats performance:
Unquestionably, the most important part of the boat is the engine. So before you launch it, there are several engine housekeeping tips to follow involving it.
First, make sure you clean the engine to wipe away any dirt, debris or grime. Inspect everything from the fuel tanks to the fuel line for rust or other damage. Also check the engine’s cooling system. Last but not least, make sure you’re putting the right fuel into your boat.
Most fuel blends these days contain ethanol, which can damage the engine (not all boats are designed to run on ethanol-blended fuels) and attract water to the fuel mixture.
To remedy this, make sure you’re administering a fuel additive to ensure that ethanol won’t impact its performance and you’re running the best fuel possible through your boat.
Wear and tear to the exterior of your boat can also be detrimental to its performance. So before you launch it, wax it and give it a paint job with a type of anti-fouling paint to protect it from the elements it’s bound to face.
In order to power the motor, you need to have adequate batteries. So make sure the batteries are charged and also contain the proper amount of fluid to function to the fullest extent.
What’s more is that you want to keep your battery clean and free of moisture or grime, as such can impact the quality.
As you can see, caring for and maintaining a boat is a lot of work – and all for a vehicle that’s used seasonally and not year-round like your car. And we didn’t even include checking electrical components; the bilge pumps and prepping the boat trailer for launch!
To recap, here’s a look at the things to be watchful of before you launch your watercraft:
- Engine: Make sure it’s clean and that the fuel is stabilized to prevent corrosion and optimize performance.
- The boat’s exterior: A good wax and paint job, if needed, is always healthy.
- The battery: A dead battery means your boat is going nowhere.
This post was published on April 23, 2014 and was updated on January 21, 2016.