Accidents happen. And when they do, be glad your boat insurance is (hopefully with) SkiSafe Insurance. You’ll have coverage for fire, theft, vandalism, collision on the water or on land, hauling your boat out in advance of a named storm. Maybe you will choose to have coverage for consequential losses or freeze damage. Even towing and for your personal property. You’ll definitely want coverage coverage for third party liabilities that can arise out of the ownership or operation of your boat.
As long as you keep your insurance in place, you’ll be covered if the unthinkable happens. But that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your boat in good condition to guard against certain accidents and damage. Today we’ll take a look at a few things you can do as part of your regular boat maintenance. Next week we will add a few more important items to this checklist that will give you a good starting point for your regular boat maintenance.
1) Oil Changes:In general, change your boat’s engine oil at least annually. If your boat usage approaches or exceeds 100 hours per year, a mid-season oil cha nge is in order. Always change the oil filter when you change the oil. For annual oil changes, the fall is the best time, right before the engine is laid up for the winter. That way the engine is stored with fresh, clean oil protecting those expensive moving parts. This is also a good time to replace the fuel filters. Note any evidence of fuel contamination and look into having the fuel tank cleaned if there is evidence of contamination. This will leave you with a boat and engine ready for another season when spring arrives.
2) Impeller Replacement: The engine cooling water pump has a rubber-like impeller that needs to be replaced periodically. Usage patterns dictate how often but at least every third year. Running an impeller dry by starting the engine while the boat is out of the water and not on a flushing hose will destroy a new impeller in just over 30 seconds.
3) Boat Transmissions: Transmissions also need periodic oil changes. See your boat manufacturer’s recommendations, typically based on operating hours.
4) Internal Clamps and Hoses: Belts and hoses are wear items that must be periodically replaced. Inspection is the best indicator of their condition rather than any given fixed time interval. Hose clamps have a vulnerability to crevice corrosion. This is a corrosion process that takes place in the absence of Oxygen on stainless steel. The outside of the clamp will look perfectly normal but the underside against the hose can be eaten completely away. The first sign of trouble is when the clamp snaps. Removal and inspection is the only way to find this problem ahead of time. You and your boat will be very glad that you took these precautions because failure to do so can be costly.
5) Shaft and Rudder: Your shaft and rudder packing are also service items that require periodic inspection and maintenance. This is best left to professionals who can determine what steps are necessary to keep your boat in tip top shape.
There is a lot more you can do for your boat’s maintenance every season. But we don’t want maintaining your boat to be a full time job. But if you stay on top of these regular items and a few more we’ll cover next week you should be in good shape. Most importantly, you’ll preserve your boat insurance for truly unavoidable accidents.
As always, the best thing to do is ask questions. Visit us at SkiSafe and let us know if you have any additional tips for maintaining your boat or any general questions about boat insurance.