How Hard is it to Maintain a Boat?

Taking care of a boat is very similar to taking care of a car. Maintaining your boat isn’t difficult, but it requires consistency and dedication. Like a car, a boat will need certain types of maintenance at certain milestones and after use.

Keep reading for a boat maintenance checklist, easy tips for boat maintenance, and how to schedule a servicing.

Boat Maintenance Checklist

When you buy a boat, you should consider having a plan for maintenance. Take inventory of your current knowledge and abilities. What sort of services do you already know how to do, and which services you should seek help from a professional for?

For boat maintenance, you should:

  • Check the battery charge
  • Test your electronics
  • Test your lights
  • Check fluid levels such as power steering and coolant
  • Change the oil
  • Inspect the propellor
  • Inspect the gas tank, fuel lines and engines for leaks, corrosion or cracks
  • Check that railing is secure
  • Ensure you have all your safety gear — floatation devices, up-to-date fire extinguishers, proper licensing and registration, flares, whistles and horns
  • Check belts and other engine components
  • Get your boat detailed

Easy ways to maintain a boat

Wash and wax

One of the easiest ways to prolong the performance of your boat is to keep the fiberglass hull clean and well-lubricated. The gel coating on fiberglass gets chalky if not waxed regularly. It can also be helpful to dewax the previous coat before applying a new layer of wax.

Unlike cars, boats lack a clear coat so proper waxing is crucial to the longevity of your watercraft. Without a wax sealant to protect the boat it will oxidize quickly and cost much more to repair than to have it properly waxed up front.

Keeping your boat clean inside and out will prevent mold build-up. Mold can be insidious and it’s better to clean your boat often than try to contain the spread of mold. Be careful about using harsh chemicals to clean your boat as they can wear down the gel coating. Detailing once or twice a year will not only keep your boat looking amazing, but will also ensure it’s operating properly.

Wipe Off Your Boat

After a great day on the water, grab a towel and wipe your boat off. Lingering moisture can contribute to mold growth, mildew, corrosion, stains, and other issues. Drying off any excess moisture will help your boat last longer.

Lifejackets, ropes, towels, water toys, and other items that are prone to moisture or water retention should be removed from the boat, dried off and placed in a dry storage container after use.

Check Metal Parts for Corrosion

Any exposed metal piece of your boat is able to corrode and rust. Check the metal attachments often for signs of corrosion and dry them when you can. Your boat engine should also be checked for corrosion. To avoid corrosion and many other engine issues, you should regularly flush your engine.

Regular Oil Changes

Check the manual for how often you need to change your oil. Generally, you should change the oil around every hundred running hours. Quicky-lube shops for boats and watercrafts don’t really exist, so you should take your boat to a certified specialist or dealership with a service center.

Check Your Propeller

Never skip thoroughly checking your propeller. A whole mess of issues can come up with your propeller, so you should remove it regularly throughout the boating season and inspect it. It’s ok to have scratched or missing paint, but large dents or signs of impact should be addressed with a professional. Otherwise, it could lead to loss of performance and extra fuel consumption. This is also a great opportunity to check if your water intake is clean of debris.

A common issue is fishing line can end up wrapped around your propeller. If this happens, you should ask your dealership to inspect your gearcase and ensure that no leaks have been caused. Gearcase servicing should always be done by a knowledgeable professional.

After inspecting your propeller, you should add waterproof grease and reinstall the propeller in the same order you removed it.

Remove Your Battery in the Off-Season

Batteries do not last forever, but you can prolong the life of your battery by removing it during the off-season while your boat is stored away. Clean it, charge it, and store it in a place where it won’t be easily affected by temperature changes and the elements.

Taking A Boat in for Maintenance

You should take your boat in for service before the beginning of the boating season and for maintenance when certain situations arise such as a dented prop, corrosion in the engine, or even an oil change. When you bring your boat in for maintenance, spring servicing, or winterization, you should call ahead of time and plan to get in early.


Do you need to maintenance your boat but you don’t want to do it yourself? No problem! At Hagadone Marine Center, we offer plenty of boating services including indoor boat storage and maintenance.

Schedule your boat servicing or detailing now!