Boat maintenance is essential; if not well maintained, it will cause problems. The basics of maintenance care remain the same whether your boat is in saltwater or freshwater. The only difference will be the regularity and intensity of maintenance and, of course, the products you use.
Maintenance after every boat trip.
- Flush the engine after every trip; whether in saltwater or freshwater, you need to flush it.
- Drain the remaining water after you have flushed the engine.
- Clean your boat with fresh water. It is crucial to clean your boat within 24 hours if it was in saltwater.
- Clean freshwater tanks and fill the water tank with fresh water for your next trip.
How to flush an outboard motor (Check your user manual for specific instructions)
There are different types of flushing systems: Built-In Flush Connection, Using Flush Muffs, and Flushing Bags.
Built-In Flush Connection
Most outboards have a built-in flush connection. The built in flush connection uses a snap fitting adapter or a threaded fitting to connect the motor to a garden hose; after connecting the hose, let the water run for about 10 minutes. With the built-in flush connection, you can flush the outboards without starting the motor. Check your user manual for specific instructions.
Flush Muffs – Check your user manual for specific instructions.
- Connect the water hose to the flush muffs.
- Place the “flush muffs” over the water inlet vents. Seal water inlet with duct tape if not covered by the muff.
- Turn on the water supply.
- Ensure the muffs stay in place; Make sure muffs do not move from vents while the engine is running.
- Start the engine, run the engine in neutral so that the propeller does not turn.
- Once you start the engine/motor, you should see water flowing out of the tell-tale this indicates that the water is pumping thru the motor.
- Let the engine run for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Don’t leave the motor unattended while flushing.
- If the muffs fall off, switch off the engine immediately.
- Turn the engine off before you turn off the water supply.
- Remove the propeller as a safety precaution; this is preferred before you start flushing.
Flushing Bags or Buckets
- Remove the propeller
- Fit the flushing bag around the gear case and fill with water to cover the cooling water inlets.
- Start the motor; it will pump water from this reservoir; the hose will maintain the water level.
- Make sure water is flowing from the tell-tale.
- There is a drain plug on the flushing bag for easy emptying after you are done.
If you leave your boat standing in the Marina, Check the following at least once a month or three months. Clean and add protectants if necessary.
- Engine(s) – Run the engine regularly as the engine needs to run often. Change the fluids: change the engine oils, filters, and fuel filters once a year or every 100 hours of engine runtime.
- Check the bilges
- The boat’s hull (bottom) and topsides
- Electrical systems
- Plumbing and HVAC systems (in larger boats)
- Moving parts (like hinges, tracks, and zippers)
- Canvass and upholstery: Canvas refers to materials and substrates used in the fabrication covers, tarps, sunshades, etc.
- Check spark plugs and replace if needed.
- Regularly check for water in the fuel.
- Check the fuel lines for cracks and wear.
- Propeller and engine belts check for damages, and replace if needed.
- Check fuel hoses, if they are damaged replace them.
- Check the fuel primer bulb for cracks.
- Inspect clamps for rust.
- The tank vent ensure it is clear, with no blockages.
- The hull of a boat must get cleaned every 12 weeks (3 Months) to avoid fouling building up.
- Clean exterior once a month
- Pump out waste tank once a month
Living on your boat and enjoying the travels on the ocean, maintenance is a daily activity and essential to your vessel.
Check freshwater tanks daily; if your water is running low, be sure to visit the marina and fill it up.
Some vessels, usually bigger vessels, have a desalination plant. The purpose of this Desalination plant is to convert salt water to fresh water, so there is frequently fresh water on board, making daily cleaning easy and comfortable. Whenever you need to fill your freshwater tank, switch on the desalination plant to do the work.
Maintenance for Desalination plant: (Check user m annual for specific instructions)
- Flush system after every use. (Using the freshwater you just created)
- Strainer check and clean every five days.
- Replace pump filters every 3 to 6 months
- Active carbon filters replace every 6 Months
Daily and Weekly Maintenance
Daily cleaning is required, and apply protectants or every two weeks for high humid areas and sunny days on the ocean.
- Clean the boat daily; you can use a vinegar-water solution to save on cost.
- Clean exterior daily
- Clean upholstery daily and apply protectant weekly.
- Clean windows and apply sun protectants; if you are in an area where the heat is extreme, be sure to use sun-protected weekly.
- If your boat has any form of woodwork, regular cleaning using wood products and wood protectants is required.
- Check propeller and shaft for damages and clean weekly
- Clean all pipes regularly with “oxalic acid,” a white powder that works for rust. From the rust on the deck to all your tools, this is a miracle worker for all rust.
- Salt pipes – clean once a year with muriatic acid. Pump into pipes if the pipes are old replace them.
- It would be best if you used everything on your boat every day. Open and close the doors; for example, start the engine every day, run water systems daily, run pumps daily.
- Fiberglass boats have a gel that protects the boat from saltwater and different weather conditions. The gel on the fiberglass gives it a glossy look; you will notice a change of appearance when the gel coat is wearing off; it becomes chalky; wax or polish your boat at least once a year with gel protectant.
High Humid areas cause mold build-up, and to assist with this problem, you need:
Air-Flow moisture barrier: for use on the mattress and cushions.
Dehumidifier: needs maintenance clean the reservoir and filters regularly with an antimicrobial solution.
Air-dryer: an inexpensive and effective way to fight moisture problems, cold drafts, and corrosion. The Davis air dryer is designed to run 24 hours daily.
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