It is the season of sunscreen, sandals, and water activities. When springtime rolls around and the sun makes an appearance we begin to itch to get in the water. Spending time on your sailboat, yacht, or speedboat can be an enjoyable activity if done correctly. Thousands of boating accidents occur each year and many of these accidents are preventable. Boat maintenance is just as important as automobile maintenance. Neglecting to properly maintain your boat can lead to serious accidents for you and other people on the water.
Listed below are 6 common boat maintenance mistakes:
- Neglecting to check the propeller
While in the water a number of things can get caught in a propeller. Algae, fishing lines and other foreign objects can lodge themselves into a propeller and cause serious damage. Quickly checking the propeller before you leave the dock is a great maintenance tip that can save you from replacing the propeller prematurely. Remove the propeller a few times a month to check for dents, cracks, or other damages. If you notice any of the above immediately fix or replace your propeller to avoid accidents or injury.
- Neglecting to routinely check the fuel system
A clean fuel system allows your boat to operate efficiently in the water. Leaks in the fuel system, accumulation of rust, or a loose tank can all slowly kill your boats fuel system. While in the water it is extremely easy for foreign objects to make their way into your boats fuel system. Routinely check your fuel system for any algae, fungi, and other microbes that may have weaseled their way in.
- Failing to protect the wiring system
When installing the wiring system in your boat always hire a professional. Wiring the electrical system in a boat should not be done by an amateur. Sometimes insurance companies hire independent marine surveyors to survey the electrical wiring of the boat, if possible take advantage of this service. Water and electricity do not mix, so frayed or exposed wires or lack of circuit breakers can cause serious injury.
- Lack of safety equipment
Dealing with accidents on water are very different than dealing with accidents on land. Lack of fire extinguishers or first aid kits on a boat can be the difference between life and death. Checking fire extinguishers, lifelines, and the boat railing frequently is another boat maintenance necessity. Boat surfaces should also be sealed so that any water that makes its way onto the boat will not cause slip and fall accidents.
- Ignoring corrosion
Water, the elements, and a number of other factors can cause corrosion and damage your boat. Lubricating your zippers and checking the state of your rudder fittings, bearings, and shafts can prevent destructive corrosion. Bodies of water containing salt water can dissolve aluminum, which is a common material used for boats. While you can't avoid the corrosive nature of saltwater you can avoid the damages it can have on your boat by using protective paint.
Whether used for transportation or leisure and relaxation, boats require adequate maintenance for them to function properly. Neglecting to maintain your boat can be the cause of accidents in the water.