When you take care of the small details in life, you can avoid a lot of big problems. This applies to nearly everything, but especially when it comes to expensive assets like homes, cars, and yes, boats.

Attention to some basic maintenance before the cold sets in can extend the life of your boat and help prevent major inconveniences and expensive repairs.

Here are some important tips to consider when putting your vessel up for the season:

1. Clean it

Use a little elbow grease and get your craft as close to showroom condition as you can. Remove any stains and dirt, apply a nice wax job and make sure the bilges are clean and dry. This will only increase your pride and satisfaction when it’s time to hit the water next year.

2. Inspect it

Now’s the time to check for damage to the propeller, electrical wiring and connections, and for any loose or broken fasteners. It’s not fun finding problems when you’re excited and ready for the start of boating season after a long winter.

3. Maintain it

Like any engine, your boat’s power plant needs your attention to keep giving you top performance. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations, but the process will likely include:

  • changing the crankcase, gear case oils and filters
  • replacing spark plugs
  • lubricating engine fittings and the propeller shaft
  • circulating antifreeze through the engine block and manifolds
  • topping off fuel tanks with stabilized fuel
  • removing hoses from water pumps
  • connecting the batteries to a trickle charger and storing in a cool dry place

4. Protect it

This is not the place to skimp. A high quality, breathable cover is one of the best investments you can make for your boat’s longevity. A custom cover that prevents UV rays from breaking down the exterior surface will pay for itself over the life of your vessel. Just make sure there’s enough room for airflow. Throw a tarp over everything to extend the life of your cover and for extra protection from the elements.

The time and effort you spend now will go a long way towards protecting your valuable recreational asset and maximizing your fun on the water for years to come.

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