How to Maintain Your Boat

Whether you prefer a ski boat or center console fishing boat, bass boat or cruiser, sailboat or yacht, all boats require regular maintenance and upkeep to preserve their condition and performance. There are many things you can do to preserve your craft, but we want to highlight certain items that are easily overlooked.

Read through our tips on inspecting and maintaining your motor and bilge as you prepare to launch for the season. Then check back for how to prepare the boat for winterization during your lay-up period. You’ll also find suggestions for storing and trailering your boat as well as maintaining its seaworthiness and preventing its sinking. We hope this guide helps you maintain your boat’s condition and performance and avoid the potential disappointment that comes from a lack of proper maintenance.

It is vital to properly maintain a vessel in seaworthy condition. For larger vessels and yachts, special requirements within the marine environment gave rise to the establishment of the marine surveyor as well as to marine architects and engineers. Surveyors are generally certified or accredited by either the National Association of Marine Surveyors ("NAMS") or the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors ("SAMS"). Membership and accreditation with these organizations requires years of training and continuing education. A thorough marine survey will identify structural or maintenance conditions requiring further attention and will serve as a blueprint for ongoing maintenance to keep a vessel seaworthy and insurable.

Smaller boats can also benefit from a marine survey, but the cost involved often leads owners to rely upon seasonal inspections by marine repairers or self-inspection. This can also be very effective and we hope that this guide and checklists will help you maintain and preserve the craft for your family’s safety and enjoyment.

This guide is not comprehensive and proper maintenance is not limited to this list, but it highlights a number of boat operation and upkeeps issues that our customers have encountered. We hope that you find it useful in maintaining your boat for many seasons on the water.