A boat can be a significant financial investment, so it’s in your best interest to make it last as long as possible. With the right strategies and motivation, you should be able to keep your boat running smoothly for many years to come. 

So what are the best ways to extend the lifespan of your boat? 

Choose the Right Boat

Everything starts with your choice of boat. Some brands have a reputation for making boats with the future in mind; these vessels are typically well-made, with all the components necessary to keep them running for many years. Others are less reliable. You should also be aware that some models may have manufacturing defects or other known issues, which should prevent you from moving forward with those options. 

Do your research and choose the boat that’s most likely to sustain your boating hobbies indefinitely.

Inspect the Boat Before Purchasing

If you’re buying a used boat, make sure you take the time to thoroughly inspect it before finalizing your purchase. While the boat may look like it’s in good condition from the outside, the interior components may be damaged or worn. This shouldn’t deter you from purchasing a used vessel; oftentimes, you can find a great deal this way. However, you also need to know what you’re getting yourself into. 

If you do find signs of damage, don’t panic and abandon the deal. In many cases, a simple fix is all it takes to restore the boat to full working order – for example, replacing a boat propeller could be enough to get the boat running at full capacity once again. 

Store the Boat Properly 

Next, make sure you’re storing the boat properly when you’re not using it. If you’re keeping it outside at the docks, invest in a cover to protect the surface of the boat from the elements. It’s also important to winterize your boat and store it properly if your area experiences cold winters. You’ll need a breathable cover to protect the surface of the boat, and it’s ideal to keep it in a closed, temperature-controlled interior space. You’ll also need to take the time to scrub the mildew off the surface, add a fuel stabilizer to prevent issues, and add antifreeze to the engine to prevent frozen moisture from destroying the pipes. 

Fill Holes and Cracks Immediately 

Hopefully, your hull will remain intact for a long time. But if you do notice a crack, a hole, or another point of damage, it’s important to fix it right away. The continuous stress and pressure from the water is only going to make the damage worse, ultimately leading to a far more expensive repair – or something truly irreparable. 

Fortunately, repairing cracks and holes is relatively inexpensive. With a basic emergency repair kit, you can repair holes temporarily until you can visit a professional for a permanent fix. 

Replace Worn or Damaged Parts ASAP

Similarly, it’s a good idea to replace worn or damaged parts as soon as you can. Bits of wear and damage tend to spiral out of control quickly, and in some cases, a single damaged moving part can negatively impact the parts around it. Don’t take the risk; swap out old and broken parts when you can. 

Repair and Maintain Fixtures and Finishes

It’s also worth your time to repair and maintain the fixtures and finishes on your boat. These are somewhat superficial, since they may not directly impact the boat’s performance, but they’re still necessary to keep your boat in good shape. While you’re at it, wash and wax it regularly. 

Change the Oil 

You need to change the oil on your boat the same way you change the oil in your car. Fresh oil is much cleaner and provides more protection against friction, keeping your engine in much better condition. Check your boat manufacturer’s recommendations for how often to change. 

Use the Boat Often 

Finally, make sure you use the boat often. The more you use the boat, the more it will suffer normal wear and tear – but you have to remember, boats are designed to be in motion on the water. Sitting around perpetually isn’t good for the vessel. Over time, even the best storage methods are going to fail, and the prolonged stationary nature of the boat will begin to compromise its ability to function. Fortunately, this is an easy step for most boat owners to take; boating is fun and relaxing, so it requires few extra incentives. 

With these steps, you should be able to keep your boat in good running condition for at least a decade, if not longer. Consider talking to other boat owners in your area to get more tips and find out how they keep their vessels in such good shape.