Just like cars, boats also require routine care, which is more than visual inspection and visiting the marine body shop to last longer and operate smoothly. Creating a maintenance schedule for your boat and ensuring you service it after every outing is important. If you find it challenging to take good care and keep your boat safe, you can contact a professional. Either way, follow the tips below to take good care of your boat.
Tips for Buying a Boat
First things first, you will probably ignore a boat if you buy a variety you don’t like. You might have also bought a boat that doesn’t meet your needs effectively. In that case, it’s very important to set your preferences and understand your needs before buying a boat. The first and most crucial step in buying a boat is settling on the type of vessel that will satisfy your needs and those of your anticipated riders.
After deciding on the type of boat you want to buy from the nearby marine body shop, you can refine your search by considering several useful factors that will inform your financial plan. When it comes to boating expenses, a boat is the most affordable water vessel you can have for your home.
The used boat sales might be cheaper, but remember that you’ll spend more on repairs and maintenance over time. Therefore, it’s a brilliant idea to buy a new boat which will mostly come with a warranty. Compared to the costs of weekend activities and annual vacations for a small family, the monthly payment on a brand-new is only about $250 to $300, making boat ownership very affordable.
Now that you have an idea of how much money you can spend, you are ready to start looking for a boat. First, do a broad internet search and then narrow it down to specific models depending on online reviews and issues discussed in the online boat forums. It’s also crucial to avoid depending only on internet information. You might know other people who own boats. Inquire about their past experiences, and gain from their direct knowledge.
Many people who are looking to buy a boat in a marine body shop prefer to do so after having the opportunity to inspect it firsthand. However, the process of buying a boat is simplified by working with a dealer. Do some research on boat dealers while comparing boats. In the same case, you should consider the reputation and proximity of the dealer who will help you when it comes to shopping for a boat.
Once you have found a boat you like, check its engine, propellant, bilge, steering structure, electrical systems, and fuel tank to ensure they are in good condition. You can hire a third-party marine surveyor if you don’t feel comfortable with the technical aspects of the job. A surveyor will examine the vessel thoroughly, both externally and internally, just like a home inspector examines the structure of a house.
Closing the Deal
The last step is closing the deal. There is certainly more to buying a boat from a marine body shop than just looking at the price tag and checking out the specs. Just like when you buy a car, there are usually some extra fees that aren’t shown on the initial price tag. Talking to the dealer about the total cost of boat ownership is important.
Consult the dealership about the cost of the essential accessories, dealership fees, insurance expenses, boat registration, storage, and maintenance. You should be sure about all the available add-ons for your boat before leaving the dealership store or marine body shop. Some equipment, like a safety kit, comes with the boat, while event-specific accessories may be sold separately. Though services from firms like paddleboard rentals might help, you should have your own tools.
Before accepting the boat’s keys, you should inspect the vessel’s systems again and, this time, more deeply to ensure optimal boat safety and comfort. You should also inquire how to make an appointment for service or repairs at the dealership. And before you set sail on your maiden voyage, find nearby organizations that provide boat training classes. You can hit the water with more assurance after brushing up on the fundamentals of boating and facts about the area. Furthermore, insurance companies tend to offer discounts to policyholders who have taken boating safety courses.
Tips for Maintaining a Boat
Simple cleaning and lubrication as needed are the key components of any maintenance program. The effects on a boat are profound. If you fail to wash and wax your fiberglass boat frequently, the gel finish will oxidize and get chalky. Washing and waxing the exterior of the vessel is an essential step in maintaining a fiberglass boat. Mold and mildew thrive in dirty environments, so it’s also crucial that you keep the fabric and upholstery clean. In addition, a clogged bilge pump is an operational problem that can go undetected if the bilge is unclean.
After spending an entire day on the water, you ought to clean your boat and lubricate moving parts. Still, you must flush the engine after using your vessel in salty water. A simple inspection of the boat’s systems should be performed after every trip as an additional maintenance effort. You should schedule the boat for professional service if you see anything wrong.
Other important boat maintenance tips include;
- Regularly inspecting the boat’s hull, engine, and electrical systems
- Changing the oil and filters regularly
- Checking and maintaining the battery
- Storing the boat properly
Services for Taking Care of a Boat
Some of the boat care services that you should acquire for your boat include engine servicing, bottom cleaning, waxing, detailing, commercial glass repair, and electrical system servicing, among others. In any of the services you use to take care of the boat, it’s generally essential to have a professional mechanic who will diagnose and fix the problem without causing further damage.
In terms of expenses that you need for engine services, the exact expenses will vary depending on the engine model and the nature of repairs to be done. The cost of regular engine maintenance might range from $100 to $400, while major repairs can easily top $1,000. A routine oil and filter change needs between $100 and $150, while a major engine rebuild can cost more than $3,000.
It’s also worth spending time and resources on detailing and waxing because it keeps the boat looking good and protects it from harsh marine environments. For reasons of comparison, the cost to detail a 25-foot boat can range from $500 to $700, while waxing a 40-foot boat can cost as much as $1,500.
For seamless boat lighting, navigation, and communication, you need to keep the boat’s electrical systems in excellent condition. As a result, it’s imperative for you to hire electricians from the marine body shop to check on the condition of the boat’s batteries, wiring, and other electrical components. While there is a wide variation in electrical system maintenance expenses, simple boat electrical system services will cost you approximately $150 to $300.
A through-bottom cleaning service to remove marine vegetation, algae, and barnacles attached to the hull, propellers, and underwater components improves boat performance and fuel economy. Another essential boat care service that will enhance its interior and exterior is upholstery and canvas care. You will make the upholstery, canvas covers, and even custom window blinds more useful and durable with regular cleaning and maintenance services which will cost you around $200, depending on your boat’s condition. For the boat bottom cleaning services, you will be required to pay between $2 and $4 per foot.
Of course, everyone wants the best boat care service, but how will you get it? When looking for a boat care service provider far from the marine body shop, it’s recommended that you confirm experience and reputation before signing any deal. You should also ascertain whether you will get a boat service provider who knows how to deal specifically with your boat model and provides all the services you need. Check internet reviews and ask around to find a boat or dock repair services you can trust. It is also important that the boat service provider be legitimate in that they have proper licensing, insurance, and guarantees for their services.
Keeping the Boat Clean
You must drug out your boat, clean the hull, and wax it before setting sail again, especially after leaving it at the dock for an extended period. Winterizing your boat is also essential. It’s important to note that boats should be cleaned with materials that are not harmful to marine organisms or the environment. Use a sponge or light scrub brush to apply the cleaning detergent while the boat is wet. After you’ve washed and dried the hull, use a non-hazardous brand of fiberglass or gel coat wax to protect it from grime. Waxing your hull lowers the amount of soap and labor during the next wash. However, you shouldn’t get any wax onto your boat’s deck because it will create an extremely slippery floor.
Using marine water repellent to prevent water spots on the windscreen is another tip for keeping your boat pristine. There are a few different options to consider, but you need to be careful that the one you choose won’t damage your windshield’s substance. Notably, when your boat has a cracked windscreen, you should look for the ideal commercial glass repair services.
If you want to keep your fish alive, you should never use bleach or other chemical-based cleaners in your livewell. To clean your livewell without harming your fish, use a scrub brush and a solution of a few teaspoons of baking soda mixed with a small pail of warm water. When you’re done cleaning the system, give it a few rinses under water to eliminate residual dust and grime.
The boat deck flooring can be scrubbed and rinsed of any spills promptly to save time during cleaning. If you use your vessel for fishing, scrub it well before drying to get rid of any traces of debris or leftover bait. Pay attention to your deck’s material when washing it. To clean a non-skid deck, you should employ medium-firm deck brushes and boat soap made for use in saltwater. Finally, at all times ensure that the foundation piers are fully functional and stable.
What to Do in Case of an Accident
In contrast to what you can do in the event of an automobile accident, few people are prepared for boat accidents. The first thing to do after the occurrence of a boat accident is to shut off the engine and safely anchor the boat. Shutting off the engine is vital because exhaust emissions from boats can produce a poisonous gas that could be life-threatening.
Once the vessel is safe, make sure everyone on board is calm. The early rescue of anyone who has fallen or been thrown into the water is essential to prevent death or injury from drowning or other causes. If you’ve suffered serious injuries, you should get to shore and seek a doctor immediately. You can ask for rescue assistance by dialing 911. When called upon, you should give the rescue workers an accurate and detailed report for easy location.
Any incidents involving boats must be reported to the proper authorities immediately. It could be the local police, a conservation officer, or the county sheriff, depending on the specifics of the incident. Furthermore, a boat accident report must be filed with the state if there were injuries, deaths, or disappearances or if the damage to property was more than $2,000, as stated by the United States Coast Guard. People who are hurt in boating accidents must report it within 48 hours.
It is in your best interest to contact a boating accident lawyer after receiving medical attention and reporting the accident to the right authorities. If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt, it is imperative that you obtain the services of a boating accident lawyer immediately. A lawyer experienced in boating accidents will look into the incident and gather information in your favor. You will also get help calculating the value of your injury and damage claims from your attorney.
Buying Boat Covers
Investing in high-quality boat covers is the most effective way to keep your boat safe from the harsh environmental elements. Remember that boat covers are never created equal. Therefore, you ought to be keen when making purchases. Check for reinforcing panels sewn in, rather than bonded, in locations of severe stress, such as where the cover hits the front windshield or is supported by reinforcement poles.
Cotton and other inexpensive cover materials fade easily in the sun. Although polyester and acrylic material fabrics are more expensive, they usually end up being better because of their durability. They have adequate airflow, improved resistance to extreme temperatures, and sufficient strength to withstand trailering speeds.
Think about how the cover stretches around the outside of your boat for the best possible fit. Fittings made of elastic or stretch cords tend to loosen up over time. The best choice is to use a pulling rope as provided by the marine body shop. You can get a boat cover that fits like a glove but might cost you more money.
Ultimately, the greatest cover materials will still require periodic cleaning. It’s preferable to use a gentle detergent or soap. You can blast the grime away with a yard hose. Lastly, be careful when picking the color for the boat cover. Darker colors have a longer lifespan and better UV protection than lighter ones. This is because they contain more dye.
Taking Care of Boat Decks
The boat deck flooring, like the marine body shop, is a high-traffic area that needs regular and proper maintenance. The deck not only adds to the aesthetic appeal of the boat but also ensures the safety and comfort of its guests. Maintain the deck of your boat by washing it with mild detergent, a soft bristles brush, and warm water, followed by a thorough rinsing with cold water.
The deck might dry out, fade, and crack due to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. In that case, you should use an ultraviolet-resistant material or wax. As a result, the deck will be protected from rain and spills. Food, drink, and other liquid accidents can cause permanent damage to decks. Clean up any spills on the deck immediately to prevent them from setting in. Instead of using strong chemicals, which could potentially damage the surface, go for a specialized deck cleaner for stubborn stains.
If you inspect the boat deck on a regular basis, you can catch any problems before they become severe. In the process, you should also check for defects like cracks, bending, or discoloration to determine if it needs replacement. Overall, you must repair any boat deck flooring problems as soon as possible to prevent them from worsening. Ultimately, maintaining the beauty and integrity of a teak deck calls for annual oiling, whereas fiberglass decks can be protected with annual waxing and polishing.
If you take good care of your boat as recommended by the marine body shop, it will last longer and perform better. Think about your budget and the boat’s brand before making a purchase. Keeping the boat clean and well-greased are two of the most important upkeep procedures. If the boat’s hull, engine, or any other vital component is damaged, a qualified mechanic should address the issue without delay.