Summer is right around the corner and if you kept your boat in tip-top shape last summer you should be able to launch without too much concern. Boats provide hours and hours of recreational fun but they have to be properly maintained to ensure longevity and performance. Keep these tips in mind when caring for your boat.

Propeller

Before you launch your boat, you need a pre-launch checklist. It’s easier to fix or replace parts prior to getting in the water. Stern drive and outboard boats have propellers. Each time you launch the boat, check the propeller to ensure it works properly. Several times through the year, thoroughly inspect by taking the propeller off. Fishing line left in the water can wrap around the propeller shaft causing problems for the gear case. A dealer can inspect the gear case for leaks. Replacement marine parts are generally easy to come by and cost less to replace ahead of your next launch.

Clean

A clean boat is not just a great place to enjoy the sights, sounds and smell of the open water. Washing your boat after using rids the vessel of unwanted dirt, debris and salt. A boat brush with a long handle and soft bristles combined with marine boat wash are ideal tools to thoroughly clean the boat.

Oil

As with any motorized vehicle, your boat needs regular oil changes. The owner’s manual lets you know exactly how long you can go between changes, but a general rule of thumb is once a year or every 100 hours of use. If you don’t take it to a dealer to change, you need an oil wrench, the right weight of oil, rags and an oil extractor pump. Reference the manual for specific instructions for your boat’s engine.

Maintaining your boat regularly extends the life of the engine and keeps the boat looking good longer. Like your truck, a clean, well-maintained boat turns head on the road.