Boat Maintenance Checklist

Keep your boat in top condition with our Boat Maintenance Checklist guide! When it comes to boat maintenance, it’s all about getting into good habits both after you’ve been out on the water, and with regular boat maintenance checks.

Here’s our simple boat maintenance checklist to keep you on the water for longer:

1. Marine Motor Care & Boat Battery Maintenance

As the cowl of the motor is fibreglass it is a good idea to polish it with a fibreglass polish to help protect it from the sun and salt. Spraying the motor under the cowl with a water displacer is also recommended every 6 months or so.

Most marine batteries are fairly low maintenance and generally only require maintenance of the water levels and terminals every six months or so. Make sure that the terminals are clean and are all fastened tightly and check your batteries condition before you get to the ramp.

2. Boat Trailer Maintenance

The most important maintenance for trailers is to hose down the frame, springs, brakes and axles to ensure that all salt is removed as soon as possible. It’s best to do this at the ramp if you can, or if that’s not possible then as soon as you get home.

Tyre pressures on trailers are not as critical as cars and we recommend running them slightly under pressure so as they ride a bit softer on the road: somewhere between 10% to 20% below maximum is fine. Boat trailer rollers and winch gears need to be greased once or twice a year & it’s easiest to do this with the boat off the trailer.

Trailer brakes, light and bearings will require more frequent regular maintenance to keep them in good running order. Quite often the less frequently a boat is used, the more maintenance it requires.  A regular check of brake adjustment and wear by us is also recommended. The best time for this to be done is when your boat is in for service.

3. Caring for aluminium & fibreglass hulls

Salt water is probably the biggest enemy of all boats. Always wash the salt water from the hull as soon as possible. This also applies to both the motor and trailer as well as any articles that may have been used in the water such as ski ropes, jackets, kneeboards, fishing gear etc.

Aluminium boats should be washed as soon as possible with a sponge and soapy water. Make sure the boat is hosed out well, both inside and out and is able to drain properly and remove hooks, sinkers and any metal objects in the bottom of an aluminium hull as they can trigger a serious corrosion problem.

A fibreglass boat can be washed with a soft cloth or sponge and soapy water. Hose the boat well and leave it in a storage position that will allow the water to drain to the back of the hull and out the bungs. Store your boat out of the sun either in a garage/carport or under a large tarp if you can, in which case polishing once a year with a fine cut polish should be sufficient.

4. Canopies and upholstery

Canopies and seats should be cleaned when washing the boat to remove any salt. Canopy zips can be lubricated with a silicon spray or candle/surf wax if needed. Press studs must be lubricated with a small amount of Vaseline to prevent them from becoming harder to use and eventually fail or rip out of the canopy.

Seats and cushions must be left in a position where they will drain and dry and should have a protective coating, like Armoral, applied twice a year.

5. Safety Afloat

Boating carries with it many responsibilities to yourself, your passengers and the general boating public. It’s best to check safety items like life jackets, boat radios, anchors and distress flares to ensure they’re in good condition and within the expiration date. Head to Transport NSW for a complete list of safety equipment you must carry on board. 

Transport for NSW recommends that powered vessels are professionally serviced every year. When it comes time to service your outboard or sterndrive, call Hunts Marine. All our mechanics are factory trained and we have all the latest tools and software. Call Sydney on 9546-1324, Wollongong on 4284-0444, or Batemans Bay on 4472-2612.