General boat maintenance
Vessel maintenance doesn't have to be a chore: get into a routine and maintain your boat to prevent breakdown on the water.
This page has tips on the four main areas to check during routine maintenance of your vessel.
1 - Checking the motor
Manufacturers usually recommend a service by a specialised workshop at least once a year- even if the motor is hardly used. This ensures vital internal parts such as the water pump are checked. If your motor is used regularly, you should change your gear-box oil every three months.
- Replace your pull cord if it is fraying
- Check all wiring
- Clean spark-plugs, check gaps and replace if required
- Check compression
- Lubricate all moving parts
- Check and re-fill gear case oil
- Clean cooling system passages
- Check propeller and nut – sand or file any small cracks
- Check and replace the sacrificial anode if required.
2 - Checking the fuel
- Always replace old fuel - never go out with fuel which is more than six months old
- Make sure you have enough fuel for the trip - 1/3 out, 1/3 back and 1/3 in reserve
- Clean your fuel tank at least once a year with a suitable solvent and dispose of old fuel responsibly
- Inspect the fuel tank for cracks or corrosion
- Always replace old fuel after periods of inactivity
- Inspect fuel lines, manual priming bulb and connections for cracks and leaks
- Clean out or replace fuel filter
- For fuel disposal please make contact with your local council for details.
3 - Checking the batteries
- Top up battery cells with distilled water and check each cell with a hydrometer
- The battery should be charged at a rate that is suitable to the battery and should never be over-charged
- Batteries should be secured in brackets
- Battery terminals, cables and casing should be kept clean
- Grease terminals regularly
- Test all equipment that uses the battery.
4 - Checking the structure
- Clean and paint your boat regularly
- Inspect boat for corrosion and cracks
- Ensure all bungs are suitable and in good condition
- Check for water and fuel leaks
- Check and grease drain flaps
- Ensure bilges are clean and dry
- Test steering for stiffness - oil cables with the correct lubricant.
We also recommend keeping the following items on board:
- Engine manual
- Flywheel pull rope
- Spare 'O' rings for fuel connector
- New spark-plugs
- Spark-plug spanner (or diesel injector spanner)
- Ratchet with extender and shifting spanner
- Spare fuses, bung and shackle
- Sharp knife, pliers and screwdrivers
- Spare propeller nut, washer, split pins and socket for propeller nut
- Steel wool to clean battery terminals
- De-watering spray (RP7 or similar)
- Spare oil and funnel
- Spare key and stop harness (kill switch lanyard).
Download our 'Boat structure checklist' as a PDF or accessible word document: