Summer is in full-swing and there’s nothing better than making waves with your boat. Whether you’re a boating newbie or a seasoned sailor, proper boat maintenance is an absolute must. A well-maintained and cared-for boat will perform better and you’ll run into less problems when you’re making waves in the water. Here’s a handy boat maintenance checklist to follow:

  1. Start your boat maintenance with a close inspection

    Once you get the boat cover off, take a close look at your boat and inspect all screws and other attachments. Spend time tightening any that might be loose. Take a look for any holes or cracks that might need your attention. Also look over your railings and lifelines to ensure they’re all firmly in place.

  2. Give your battery special attention

    Remove your battery box and if your battery is on, turn it off. Clean your battery charger, batteries and terminals and replace anything that’s corroded. Then put your batteries back and securely connect your charger.

  3. Inspect your oil

    Just like your car, your boat needs its oil changed to function properly. Likely you’ll need to change your oil once a year. You can either learn to do this yourself or take your boat to a dealer.

  4. Take all safety measures

    Keep up with boat safety guidelines. Your boat should always have fire extinguishers on board. Check the date on these and make sure they’re in working order and not in need of a refill.

    Take a look at all your life jackets and flotation devices, verify that you have enough for all passengers. Additionally, if you’re boating with kids, ensure each child has a life jacket appropriate for their size.

  5. Get to spring cleaning

    Get those brushes, sponges and soaps out! Not only will cleaning your boat keep it looking sharp, it can also help prevent the spread of non-native species to other waters. If possible, boat-cleaning should occur on dry land to prevent debris from getting into and potentially polluting the water.

    Address the interior, too. After spending winter in storage, you’ll want to scrub your boat’s interiors, removing dirt and mildew that’s built up over the winter. You want your boat looking and smelling its finest!

  6. Turn all devices on

    Before getting your boat out on the water, check to make sure all your mechanicals are working:

    • Navigational lights
    • Radio
    • Horn
    • Pumps
    • Engine
    • Filters
    • Gauges
  7. Take a look at your trailer

    Don’t neglect your trailer. Take a close look at it and make sure your tires are all inflated and that you don’t have cracked sidewalls or body rust. A trailer that’s in good shape will help protect your boat. If you’re new to using a boat trailer, read our Trailering Tips for Newbies Guide.

  8. Use a qualified technician

    Once a year enlist the help of a qualified boat technician for a full inspection of your boat and its mechanicals. Even if you know your boat and have been a boat owner for years, it’s never a bad idea to enlist a second pair of eyes to help spot potential problems.

  9. Check to ensure you’re properly insured

    Likely, your boat is one of your most prized possessions and one you want to protect. Be sure you have the proper coverage to keep your boat protected. Contact your local Farm Bureau agent to learn more.