Routine boat care sets your boat apart. Whether you’re docking in a crowded port or setting sail out on your own, find out how routine boat maintenance can help keep your boat running and looking like new. Brush up on your motor maintenance and brightwork tasks with our help at Nautical Ventures for unforgettable boating, fishing, or kayaking experiences.
Keep It Covered
A boat cover is your first line of defense out on the water in Florida. Direct UV exposure can quickly wear away at protective layers on your boat. Fiberglass, wood, upholstery, and other materials can all become worn-out in the sunlight.
Thankfully, there are plenty of covers available for all types of boats. When shopping for a new boat, look for covers that protect all the different components. Captain’s chairs and other fixed vinyl cushions should be covered with canvas or other durable material to avoid water and sun damage. Look for custom covers that fit your seats to ensure complete protection.
Cover other exterior areas with covers. Clear PVC and marine canvas covers protect cockpits, consoles, and other areas that shouldn’t be exposed to constant sun and spray. These covers need their own cleaning and maintenance, but it’s much easier to wipe down a canvas cover than to restore a soaked cockpit.
Focus on Brightwork
If you’re lucky enough to have a boat with wood trim or other features, take care of them to ensure they shine. Wood requires cleaning at least once a season. The most common wood used for boat grab handles, rails, and the decking is teak.
Teak is a naturally weather-resistant material that doesn’t require any sealer or coating. Exposed teak will naturally turn a silvery gray, which gives it a distinctly nautical look. Grab a mild cleaner and wipe it down once a season to clean away any black mildew that may ruin this look.
Sealers, oils, and varnishes keep teak looking robust and rich for years. Carefully apply varnish or other sealers following all the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on your latitude, you may need to reapply sealers every few years.
Cleaning sealed or natural teak requires only a mild cleaner and a soft-bristle brush. Scrub against the grain to avoid ridges and damaged pulpwood. A little elbow grease and the right care products maintain an iconic wood look for your favorite boat.
Care for Upholstery
Use care when scrubbing your upholstery and vinyl materials. Bleach and ammonia can easily damage these materials in a single season. Find a mild cleaning agent and a sponge and get to work a few times each season.
A little mildew is expected on your upholstery, but you don’t have to live with mildew stains on your boat. Look for boat detailing services near you or prepare to scrub your upholstery with a stain removal solution. At Nautical Ventures, we offer comprehensive boat detailing services to prevent these annoying stains from putting a damper on your day out on the water.
Don’t Forget Gelcoating
There’s nothing like a gel coat maintenance to make your boat shine. Whether you’re preparing to sell your yacht or you’re gearing up for a full weekend of fishing on your favorite vessel, brighten up your gel coat and clean your fiberglass with waxes, polishes, and other cleaning products.
Gelcoat cleaning requires both waxing and polishing. A wax protects this tough material from the sun, while a polish brings back that new-boat sparkle. Oxidation can cause gel coat to look hazy and chalky, but a good polish restores its vibrant, clear look. Plan on applying wax twice a season as preventative maintenance and you’ll avoid another major round of cleaning, waxing, and polishing.
During the height of your boating season, a quick scrub can help clear away any residue that is attached to your boat’s hull. Use cleaning agents sparingly, as harsh cleaners can scrub away the gel coat that’s protecting your fiberglass hull.
Maintain Your Battery and Engine
Now that you’ve polished your boat to a stunning shine, it’s time to make sure it stays running while you explore the stunning Florida coast. Your fishing boat, yacht, tender or other vessel isn’t meant to be docked, but to enjoy the wind and the waves out at sea, on the lake or down a river. Maintaining your battery and engine are critical steps to ensuring your boat continues to cruise on.
Here are some common battery and engine problems that many boat owners face:
First-time boat owners looking for a new boat may not realize the amount of engine and battery maintenance required. This can quickly damage even a brand-new engine or battery. Use fuel that is designed for marine engines. Ideally, you should only use Rec 90 fuel available at marinas and some gas stations. This non-ethanol fuel remains stable in your fuel tank over long periods of inactivity. If you do use an ethanol blend, make sure it contains no more than 10%. Ethanol blends break down faster and collect water in your fuel tank. Consider having a water-separator installed in your boat. Also, add a good quality fuel stabilizer to your tank every time you fill up.
Use only marine batteries in your boat. Even the smoothest ride is likely to bump and vibrate more than a car. Marine batteries are designed to be more durable than automotive batteries and can withstand this pounding.
If you live in Northern climates the end of the seasons you need quality winterization services. Ask a local service center to flush the cooling system and perform other services to prevent winter-weather-related damage.
Schedule a Boat Tune-Up in Florida
Better boat care starts at Nautical Ventures. Schedule service in Broward, Palm Beach, Tampa Bay, or Sarasota today to maintain your boat for longer. Don’t let a little mildew, separating fuel or a dead battery keep you from making memories out on the open water.