Boating Lake County Blog

Boat Main­te­nance Tips

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When your boat’s run­ning smooth­ly, so will your day on the water in beau­ti­ful Lake Coun­ty. Remem­ber, a lit­tle main­te­nance goes a long way.

Change the oil

Cars require reg­u­lar oil changes. So do boat engines. As a rule of thumb, four-stroke out­boards, inboards and stern dri­ves should have their oil changed at least every 100 hours of oper­a­tion and at the end of the boat­ing sea­son. Don’t for­get to replace the oil fil­ter when you change the oil. Always use marine-grade oil (not auto­mo­tive oil) spec­i­fied for your engine. And dis­pose of your used oil at an approved facility.

Check your pro­peller regularly

When it comes to pro­pellers, there’s no such thing as a lit­tle’ dent. Pro­peller dam­age can lead to big­ger prob­lems: from poor per­for­mance, and exces­sive fuel con­sump­tion to burnt bear­ings and leak­ing seals. If you have a stern dri­ve or out­board, check for dings, dents and gouges after every out­ing. If you find any, replace the pro­peller or have it repaired.

Remove the pro­peller at least three times a year to check for dis­card­ed fish­ing line wrapped around the shaft. If you find any, remove it and have your deal­er check to see if the debris has dam­aged the gear-case seal.

Keep it clean

After every out­ing, rinse your boat down and clean it with a boat brush and boat wash. Gen­tly clean any can­vas to remove stains and pre­vent mildew and apply 303 Fab­ric Guard annu­al­ly. Nev­er, ever, use Windex or ammo­nia on vinyl. And pay atten­tion to your fit­tings. Even in the pris­tine, fresh­wa­ter lakes of Lake Coun­ty, stain­less steel can still dis­col­or and cor­rode. Remove any rust or dis­col­oration, then wax.

Pro­tect your gel coat by pol­ish­ing the hull and deck to remove oxi­da­tion and then wax­ing to seal against dirt and UV expo­sure. Be sure to use only man­u­fac­tur­er-rec­om­mend­ed products.

Bat­ter­ies are included

There is noth­ing that will put a crimp in a beau­ti­ful day of boat­ing faster than a dead bat­tery. As a gen­er­al rule, most marine bat­ter­ies will last approx­i­mate­ly two to three years…if they’re prop­er­ly main­tained. So, to keep the cur­rent flowing:

  • Always make sure your bat­ter­ies are ful­ly charged after each use.
  • Use an approved trick­le’ charg­er to main­tain the charge.
  • Clean bat­tery ter­mi­nals regularly.

Replace old bat­ter­ies with qual­i­ty mod­els rat­ed for your boat and for the pow­er draw, such as light­ing, stereo and nav­i­ga­tion gear. Don’t use a car bat­tery; it’s not designed for the stress­es of water travel.

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