There’s something incredibly refreshing about taking your own boat out on the open waves. You leave your troubles behind and set sail for the high seas. With a little skill and the right vessel, that freedom is just a short trip away. It’s easier and cheaper than you might think to buy and run a small yacht. They have a long life, so your bank is much more likely to offer you a long-term loan for one. Depending on the location, mooring and running costs, it can be surprisingly affordable.
The tricky part is making sure you take good care of the boat. You’re looking to extract years of good service from your ship, and this means regular maintenance. Just like a car, your boat requires round-the-clock attention. Everything from the engine to the bodywork must be taken care of. It pays to stay on top of this maintenance on a regular basis. Lots of small tweaks and services will help you avoid major costs further down the line. Without further ado, here’s how to care for your prized boat.
Wash and clean regularly – Washing your boat isn’t just an aesthetic consideration. It’s essential to the long-life and health of your yacht. Water and metal are guaranteed to lead to rust eventually. With that in mind, we suggest giving it a good clean after every journey out on the ocean. The salt water can leave a salty residue that can be harmful to the paintwork and the body of the boat. Use fresh water to clean the exterior and mix it with boat-specific cleaning materials.
Change your boat oil – Just like your car, your boat needs regular oil changes. The oil ensures that all the moving parts of the boat move seamlessly over each other. When the oil runs dry, the parts will grind and clunk. It will cause damage to the engine and slowly wear down the power. By replacing it regularly, you’ll keep the motor running smoothly and extend its life. Experts suggest replacing the oil after every 100 hours on the ocean, or once a year, whichever comes first.
Check the propeller – Your propeller is the most important mechanical part of your vehicle. Most small yachts feature an outboard or stern-driven motor with easy access to the propellor. As such, it can suffer when it’s exposed. Luckily, it’s easy to keep it well maintained. First of all, use a deep socket to make sure the nut is secure. Next remove the propellor head entirely and look for fishing line or tackle. If a fishing line gets caught up in your motor, it will be a costly fix, requiring professional assistance. Finally, inspect the propellor head for any nicks, cracks or damage. It can easily clip pieces of coral or rock and slowly wear down. Just keep an eye out for this.
Safety – Taking the boat out requires a good sense of safety and understanding. Ideally you should keep life jackets and a first aid kit on the boat at all times. It’s good practice to check these on regular occasions. If the worst happens, you need to know that your safety equipment is in perfect condition. Take them out and check everything is in working order before each trip on the ocean.
Don’t leave it to rust – It’s crucial that you don’t let your boat fall into disrepair. Even if it’s out of action for a while, moored up or parked on land, keep it clean and tidy. Left to rust, it will lose value and be difficult to bring back to full health. Rather than leave it to rust, look into boat donation or selling it on. It’s better that it goes to a good home rather than being left out on the land.
Winterize – ‘Winterizing’ is boat speak for preparing your yacht for the cold months of winter. The vehicle doesn’t get as much use during this season and is more vulnerable to the weather. The first piece of advice here is to invest in a good weather-proof cover. Keep the boat fully sheltered and covered from the elements. Let the motor run now and then to make sure it doesn’t freeze up too.
Grease and oil the moving parts – All boats have a number of mechanical, moving parts. Everything from the rudder to the mast and sail uses bearings and mechanisms to move. It’s essential that these aspects are free to move over each other. Keep them regularly doused in oil to keep them flowing smoothly.
Setting sail on the high seas is a wonderful experience! Just make sure you keep your boat in the perfect condition and you’ll have years of happiness ahead of you.