Boat Maintenance Tips


There are two times of year that have proven to be the most important in terms of maintenance – prior to the launch of boating season and the offseason, or winter lay-up period. Preparation is necessary to ensure a long-term life span for many years to come.  


  • Replace engine and transmission zincs  
  • Inspect engine mounts  
  • Replace engine heater plugs  
  • Replace engine air filter  
  • Check the oil cooler for leaks  
  • Check level of the oil reservoir  
  • Commission engine at dock - check fluids, cooling, and oil pressure  
  • Soap and scrub bilges and engine pan and replace oil absorbent pads 
  • Inspect hoses and clamps for leaks and corrosion  
  • Inspect exhaust elbows  
  • Replace engine belts  
  • Inspect the boat's steering controls and linkage. Lubricate and adjust as necessary.  
  • Inspect wear ring & impeller  
  • Examine all electrical connections on the boat's motor  
  • Before launch, clean all connections and hook up all terminals  
  • Apply anti-corrosive product to all connections  
  • Test and charge batteries as needed  
  • Test all mechanical systems for proper operation  
  • Check that all electronics function correctly  
  • Replace raw water pump impellers and gasket  
  • Inspect and clean raw water strainers  
  • Service hull sea cocks by removing barnacles and growths, lubricating the sea cocks, and confirm proper operation  
  • Examine the condition of shaft and boots  
  • Clean propeller of growth and check for damage to blades  
  • Install new zinc  
  • Replace holding tank filter  
  • Commission fresh water system and fill water tank  
  • Test all water systems and remove all non-toxic antifreeze, including head, shower sump, deck faucet, and all spigots in head and galley  
  • Prep and paint lower unit as needed  
  • Clean and paint strainers  
  • Prep and paint bottom  
  • Clean swim platform, boarding ladder, and boarding step  
  • Re-install exterior cushions and canvas  
  • Adjust windshield wipers and replace blades  
  • Inspect and certify fire extinguishers  
  • Make sure you have an adequate number of lifejackets onboard 
  • Ensure that your?boat insurance policy?is up-to-date, and you have proof of insurance in a safe place on the boat  


  • Consult your boat’s manufacturer or a qualified marine expert for preparation items specific to your boat’s make and model.  
  • Get a pre-winterization inspection to audit the boat’s fenders, dock lines, cushions, and covers, as well as the electrical and mechanical systems.  
  • For winterization and decommission, change the engine oil and filters including fuel.  
  • Change the engine coolant. 
  • Check and adjust all belts.  
  • Conduct a pressure test on the cooling system.  
  • Change the transmission fluid and filter. 
  • Winterize the fresh water system and all appliances.  
  • Winterize the head, including the holding tank and add a deodorizer.  
  • Pump the holding tank. 
  • Disconnect cables and clean all battery terminals. 
  • Winterize the air conditioning  
  • Winterize refrigeration appliances.  
  • Winterize the salt water wash-down pump.  
  • Inspect and clean the shower sump and filter.  
  • Examine the discharge pump and filter.  
  • Remove the exterior cushions and canvas.  



  • Inspect your boat's water pump impellers for signs of aging including rust and cracks 
  • Regularly examine your propeller shaft to confirm that it turns freely. 
  • All engine hoses should be checked periodically.  
  • Check your boat's propeller shaft stuffing box for leakage.  
  • Check for fuel smell.  If you smell fuel, there is a leak on the engine. 



  • Unless your boat uses a maintenance free battery it is important to monitor the battery's fluid level. 
  • If your boat has struck a submerged object it is advisable to have a repair shop examine the running gear to assure that all damage has been repaired. 
  • The propeller, the propeller shaft, and the strut should be cleaned periodically.  
  • It is important to regularly inspect and service the boat trailer. Worn trailer parts can make it difficult to launch and retrieve the boat and risk damaging the hull in transport. 
  • Check for rust. Upon identifying a rust stain perform a thorough examination of the hull to determine what caused the stain.  
  • Remove your craft from a boat lift and store properly during compromising weather conditions.  



  • The rigging on a sailboat should be inspected at regular intervals to make sure it is properly tuned and that the fittings are in good condition.  
  • The halyards and sheets on your sailboat should be periodically inspected for wear.  
  • Most of the roller furling systems require little to no maintenance. However, if the system is not operating smoothly it should be inspected and adjusted or repaired as needed. 



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