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January 14, 2022

AFTCO

5 Tips for Daily Boat Maintenance

When you get to the boat ramp is not the time to start checking your oil or making sure your prop is not crooked. Captain Moe Newman shares 5 tips for taking care of your boat that we suggest you do every time you take it out.

1. Check your Oil

If you have a dipstick in your outboard or inboard, this step is a little simpler. If you are running an older two-stroke motor without a dipstick, checking your oil will be even more important and you will want to make sure to take the time to do it. Two-stroke motors burn oil in the fuel so you will need to add oil more regularly versus a four-stroke that uses oil only for lubrication. 

Whichever reason it is, make sure you are using the correct oil recommended by your engine manufacturer and that you do it every trip just to make sure you are not low. 

Checking Outboard Oil

 

2. Check under the Hood

A normal check-up under the cowling of your motor is always a good idea and Captain Moe mentions specific things to keep an eye out for. If you are near the ocean or run an ocean boat, always check for saltwater under the cowling. Saltwater is naturally corrosive to metals and having it in your engine will always bite you in the behind eventually. 

Moe also recommends looking for loose debris like rubbers, metal, or hoses. Everything in your motor has a place and when something is loose, it means it is not where it's supposed to be. That's a red flag and should require immediate attention. 

Checking Outboard

 

3. Check your Bilge

 Your bilge should be clear of any debris as well as water and fuel as Capt Moe checks for. Water isnt always a bad thing but make sure you locate the source of that as soon as possible and always make sure to keep your bilge clean.  

Checking Boat Bilge

 

4. Check your Prop

"This is the key to the whole operation"

Capt Moe knows that the prop is the driving force of the engine, literally. She always wants to make sure the prop is free spinning and has no play in it. Either of those things don't happen when you check your prop? You know you need to take care of that. Moe references fishing line getting caught in your prop. This will cause the prop not to spin freely and as the motor tries to spin the prop harder and harder, the fishing line will cut into the seal keeping your lower unit oil inside. This is a costly repair and a simple problem to avoid. 

Checking Outboard Prop

 

5. Check your Trailer Hubs

 

Wont make it to the lake if you end up with a blown trailer hub. Not only a costly mistake but a dangerous one while trailering your boat to the water. Avoid entirely by making sure you check your hub after every trip and even before you leave. Check your grease and make sure there is enough of it and that it is not milky from water. 

From there, check your tire pressure as well. A flat tire is no fun in any situation and having the right tire pressure will help alleviate those issues. A side note for tires is to make sure you also check your spare tire and that you have the correct tools to fix an issue when on the road. Long road trips especially require more need for tools and making sure you have them, can mean making it to the lake or coast in one piece and a happy fisher. 

Checking Trailer Hubs