So, you finally bought a boat. Congratulations! There’s nothing better than seeing your brand-new custom powerboat for the first time, but if you want everything to stay shiny and fresh, it’s going to require some maintenance.
Maintenance is something that every boat owner needs to do. Not only does it keep your boat looking sharp, but it can also increase longevity and prevent wear. Here are some care and maintenance tips to help you navigate the seas of boat ownership.
Keep Your Custom Powerboat Clean
Boat maintenance rule number one: keep it clean. Dirt and grime can build up on your seats causing them to deteriorate—not to mention look bad—and salt water can corrode metal and ruin the protective coating on the hull, leading to costly and unsightly abrasions. Plus, a dirty hull can increase your fuel consumption by up to 30 percent.
If you move your boat regularly, washing the exterior can help prevent the spread of invasive species between waterways. You never know what kinds of plants or animals have hitched a ride.
Here are some basic tips for cleaning your custom powerboat:
- Fiberglass: The body of your boat has a gel coating to protect it from the elements, but it won’t last without proper maintenance. If the hull of your boat ever starts to look chalky, you know it’s time for a thorough cleaning. Wash and wax the exterior with products designed to protect the gel coat twice per season: once in the spring and once before it goes into storage for the winter. Every time you pull your boat out of the water, give the hull a good rinse. It’ll help to remove salt and dirt buildup.
- Upholstery: Owning a custom powerboat is all about style and luxury, and nothing ruins the look of a boat more than dirty upholstery. Luckily, most boat seating is covered in vinyl, which is durable and easy to clean. Wipe down seats with soap and water to remove dirt and grime, then dry them with a clean microfiber cloth. If you can, keep your seats covered between outings to prevent sun damage.
If you have better things to do with your time, you can always hire someone to clean your boat for you. After all, “You gotta have a boat guy.”
Flush Your Engine – Especially After Salt Water
Your boat’s engine pulls in water during use. After a day on the water, be sure to flush your engine with fresh water, especially if you run on saltwater. Salt can build up and corrode your engine, which could lead to a host of other (expensive) problems.
To flush your outboard engine, start it up and let the water pump do the work. You should see a steady stream of water coming from the engine. The stream should be warm but not hot. If it’s weak, it could indicate a blockage. Turn off the engine and loosen the debris with a piece of wire. Start the engine back up and try again. If the problem persists, consult your mechanic.
It’s suggested that you flush your engine within 24 hours of an outing.
Store Your Boat During the Off Season
Depending on where you live, you might not be able to use your boat for extended periods of time. Proper storage of your custom powerboat will ensure that it’ll run as well and look just as beautiful as the day it was stored. No matter which storage option you choose, it’s important to protect your boat from the elements while still allowing airflow to circulate. People who cover their boat with a cheap tarp are asking for mildew. Get your boat professionally shrink wrapped to protect it from the elements while still allowing proper airflow.
Outdoor storage is typically the most cost-effective option but doesn’t offer much protection. If you choose to store your boat outside, either on your property or at a storage yard, make sure that it’s been professionally wrapped to avoid damage from rain, leaves, snow, and/or sunlight.
Indoor storage is a great option because it offers unparalleled protection from the elements. If you don’t have a garage on your property that’s large enough, consider renting a storage unit.
The downside to indoor storage is that you still have to tow your boat to and from the water when you want to use it. The more accessible your boat is, the more likely you’ll use it.
On the Water Storage
Many marinas will allow you to store your boat in the water year-round. Even in colder regions, bubblers and de-icers bring warm water from the bottom to the surface to prevent ice from damaging your boat.
This is a practical option for larger boats that are a pain to get out of the water, but it doesn’t provide the same level of protection as indoor or dry-stack storage. If you choose on-the-water storage, be sure to cover your boat to protect it from the elements.
Dry-stack storage is when your boat is lifted onto a covered—and sometimes heated—shelf. Many marinas offer dry-stack storage and will even retrieve your boat for you and have it in the water within an hour or two after a phone call.
This is a popular option because it offers all the protective benefits of indoor storage with the accessibility of being on the water.
Perform Regular Engine Maintenance
Just like your car, your boat’s engine requires regular maintenance to prevent damage and maintain peak performance. In addition to flushing your engine after each voyage, be sure to get the oil changed every 100 hours or at least once per season (whichever comes first). If you’re not comfortable changing the oil yourself, take it to a professional. They’ll also be able to look over other components like spark plugs and water pump, as well as grease any necessary parts.
At the end of every season, you should winterize your boat to protect it from cold weather. Even if you don’t live in an area that experiences cold weather, winterizing can help to prevent damage to your engine if you’re ever away for extended periods of time.
Take Care of Your Custom Powerboat
Your Mystic powerboat was built especially for you, so it’s important to maintain it so it performs and looks as good as the day you bought it. Make sure you keep it clean—especially after saltwater outings—flush the engine, store it when not in use, and keep up with the routine engine maintenance. If you can do that, you’ll be able to enjoy your boat for years to come.