Taking a boat out onto the water is a popular activity, and everyone is anxious to get out on the water. However, neglecting proper maintenance could detract from the experience and put your passengers at risk. Consider the following boat care tips to retain full functionality and prevent the hazards that come with a sloppy boat.
Risks of Not Practicing Boat Care
1. Loose Equipment
Everything on your boat should have its place, whether it’s a properly coiled mooring line or a secure, accessible fire extinguisher. On choppy waters, unfastened items on deck increase the potential for injury as they roll around or fall over. Take the time to stow your equipment safely and keep the deck clear of hazards.
2. Pump Failure
The hull’s interior needs to remain clear for the bilge pump to function properly. Otherwise, the pump’s mechanisms will clog and prevent water from exiting the boat. Excess water adds weight and throws the vessel off balance, making it difficult to maneuver. If enough water enters the hull and your pump fails, your boat is at risk of sinking. Practice proper boat care and prevent bilge clogs by containing trash during outings, regularly cleaning out oily residue, and clearing debris like stones and leaves from the intake area. Use a biodegradable bilge cleaner that can be pumped into the water, and a boom to soak up any oil in the bilge.
3. Exposed Wires
Boats rely on electricity to power their motors and maintain smooth steering. Any out-of-place or exposed components can cause controls to malfunction and strand you on the water, not to mention the possibility of a fire hazard. Uphold industry safety standards by performing routine inspections and making sure electrical wiring is secure.
4. Pest Infestation
Whether your vessel is dry stored or docked in the water, messy environments attract unwanted pests. If you have food on board, store it in coolers, baggies, and other sealed containers. Keep the deck, galley, bunks, and other interior sections of the boat tidy to discourage critters from setting up camp among your belongings. Using Spider Kill or Spider Away also helps.
5. Safety Equipment
Review a vessel safety check list to make sure you have all the minimum requirements, and make sure flares and fire extinguishers are not expired. There are also items that don’t make the required list, but are important to have, such as a VHF radio. You may think having a cell phone is all you need to contact home, Boat U.S. towing, or the Coast Guard. But if you’re in an emergency situation and time is of the essence, you don’t know the cell # of the person on board a nearby boat that could be hailed to assist quickly.
Ensure your boat is ready for the water by consulting the professionals at Harbortown Marine. This locally owned marine supply store has been in business for for 25 years and maintains the largest inventory in the Vermilion, OH area. They stock the finest boat care products and offer repairs that will keep your vessel running smoothly. Call (440) 967-8072 to schedule an appointment with an expert or visit their website for a look at their list of boating accessories and mfrs.