Boat Maintenance After a Day on the Water
Kevin Felts 07.04.18
How many of the readers are guilty of after a day on the water, parking the boat, and not doing anything to it until the next trip? I know I am. After spending a hot day on the water, who wants to go home and do maintenance on the boat? Chances are a lot of us want to go home and take a nap.
After the nap is over, or within the next couple of days after getting home, let’s take a few minutes and show the boat some tender loving care.
Boat Motor Maintenance
I typically start with the motor. This evolves putting the muffs around the water intake, connecting a water hose to the muffs, turning the water on, then cranking the motor. This flushes the water pump and cooling system.
The last trip the boat and I took on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas, the tell tale stopped working. For the readers who do not know what the tell tale is, it is a stream of water that comes out of the motor above the water line. This lets people know the water pump is working. However, sometimes the hose for the tell tale can become clogged. This is typically an easy fix by taking the hose loose and cleaning it out with something like a clothes hanger wire.
After the cooling system has been flushed, I like to disconnect the fuel line and let the motor burn all the fuel in the carburetor. Fuel tanks are removed from the boat and placed in a storage shed.
Once all the electronic problems have been resolved, such as trailer lights, boat lights, or trolling motor not working, the battery is disconnected from the wiring harness and charged. Typically, the battery charger is set to 8 amps / 12 volts and put on the battery. Once the charger indicates the battery is at least 90% charged, the charger is switched to the 2 amp setting.
While charging the battery, I like the boat to be in the shade, or at the very least a tarp placed over the battery and the charger. This is personal preference to help prevent the charger from getting too hot, because electronics typically work best at cooler temperatures. I charge the boat battery after the sun has moved past noon and the boat is in the shade of some pine trees in the back yard.
Once the battery is fully charged, the top is placed back on the battery box, and the battery box is moved under the tarp that covers the trolling motor.
While we are going over the boat, let’s take a few minutes to check the life jackets, and stuff like the boat trailer wench strap,
Boats over a certain size are supposed to have certain equipment, such as a throw-able flotation device.
- Life jackets
- Fire extinguisher
- Boat plug
- Bilge pumps
- Starter switch
- Pull starter rope
- Drain, clean, and dry ice chest
Now that the boat has been gone over and we are sure it is in safe working order, it can be put in storage until the next trip out.
There have been several times when I have seen people launch a boat, the boat motor will not crank, so the people put the boat back on the trailer and left. They were probably looking forward to a fun day on the water, and were disappointed. Then again, it is their own fault.
Am I guilty of not taking care of the boat, sure I am. A lot of people put things off until later, and later never comes around.
Show the boat some TLC, and chances are the reader and their family will have a good time on the water.