It may be a little past the mid-season point, but there’s still plenty of time to hit the water. Before you do, review these tips on some of the best mid-season maintenance practices. Although this article includes tips for mid-season boat maintenance, it’s in the best interest of your boat to review the factory recommended service and perform maintenance as listed.
First, start by changing the lower unit lubricants. A second benefit to doing this is that when you remove your prop you can check for fishing line that may have wrapped around the shaft. If left unchecked the fishing line will destroy your seals.
Since you’ve already got the lube out, don’t forget to grease fittings and linkages. Also spray your engine, fuse blocks and ground buses with Corrosion Block or a similar product.
You’ll also want to check all the bolts and nuts on your transom, motor mounts and jack plate. Over time, these can work loose. The vibration from loose bolts can cause severe damage. If they come completely apart at full power, the resulting accident can be catastrophic, even fatal.
Inspect your anodes for corrosion. Even if your boat has remained in the same slip for years without problems, the marina or even your neighbor’s boat may develop electrical problems. It’s best to keep this check as part of your regular routine.
While you’re out on the boat, dive overboard (after you’ve anchored of course) and take a look at the bottom of your boat. Normally, the transom will need a scrub to remove fouling. You may also have a scum line above the painted waterline. Do your best to remove growth without removing paint. Some of the more modern bottom paints will shed any surface scum by just a light sweep of the hand or a soft sponge. Certain paints, such as ablative, should not be scrubbed underwater. There are even some local laws that prohibit underwater bottom paint cleaning. So before you start scrubbing, do some research on your local laws.
Now you should check your fuel filter by draining the contents into a clear jar. Should there be any water, it will separate from the gas making it easy to see. Replace your fuel filter as needed.
You’ll also want to test the boat’s lights. If any of the lights aren’t working, try cleaning the socket and contacts using 220-grit sandpaper wrapped around a stick before buying a new fixture. You can also try purchasing just replacement sockets.
Lastly, on a dry windy day, open the hatches, pry off deck plates and let the boat air-out. This will help reduce moisture and the chance of corrosion and mildew.
Now you and your boat are ready for the rest of season.