How Often Should You Perform a Boat Inspection?

Boating is a fun and exciting pastime. But if you don’t stay on top of the maintenance you could be in danger of damaging your boat and risking your safety. With all the chores and tune-ups needed to properly own and run a boat, it can get overwhelming to know […]

Boating is a fun and exciting pastime. But if you don’t stay on top of the maintenance you could be in danger of damaging your boat and risking your safety.

With all the chores and tune-ups needed to properly own and run a boat, it can get overwhelming to know how and when to do a boat inspection. Follow this boat care guide to learn all you need to know about keeping your boat in tip-top shape.

Ways to Maintain Your Boat

Generally, boat maintenance includes cleaning, maintaining proper fluids, and checking how often should you change boat oil, proper storage, and motor maintenance. Just like you wouldn’t want to be driving a dirty car without proper fluid levels, the same is applied to your boat.

Clean the Exterior

Besides the aesthetics of your boat, you want to keep the outside clean to help prevent the spread of invasive species. While traveling, you never know what plant or animal could be attached to or on your boat. In order to protect the waterways, an exterior routine clean should be enforced.

Keeping your boat clean also protects the structure by preventing your finish from falling apart. Salt from the sea will eventually erode your boat’s finish, and even cause abrasions and scratches.

Store Your Boat Properly

Proper storage protects your boat from environmental and weather damage. You want to make sure to prevent ice, snow, and rain from hitting your boat. And at the same time, you want to allow proper airflow.

When following any boat care guide, you’ll be advised on several ways to store your boat. Outdoor storage is a popular choice because it allows space for sailboats with their masts up.

You do need a proper cover for your boat and the best way to ensure you protect it from the outdoor elements is to hire a professional to shrink-wrap your boat. Shrink-wrapping ensures proper coverage and ventilation.

Outdoors on the water is another option but you want to be wary of ice build-up. Bubblers or de-icers will bring warm water up to the surface to protect your boat from the harshness of the ice.

If you choose to store your boat indoors, you’ll have less room to work with. But your boat will be protected from all outdoor elements. Whether you have room in your garage or you rent a storage space, make sure your storage is secure and safe.

Boat Engine Maintenance

How to inspect a boat and maintaining your boat’s motor doesn’t require a professional. By taking precautions and preventative measures, you can ensure your engine will continue to run without too much trouble.

Some general tips in caring for your motor are to make sure to check there’s always fuel and your fuel tank vent is always open, ensure the engine mount screw clamps aren’t loose and are nice and secure, and finally, check the propeller for any tangled fishing line and oil buildup.

Boat Inspection and Boat Maintenance Checklist

Regular checks need to be a part of your boating routine and must be a priority. By creating the habit of regular boat care and following a boat maintenance checklist, you’ll help prevent any serious issues in the future.

Essential Maintenance Checklist

  • Propeller: Ensure the boat propellers are secure and check for any dents
  • Hull and bilge pump: Check for any damages, such as leaks or cracks
  • Engine: The engine needs to be inspected for cracked hoses or corrosion
  • Battery: Check the battery’s charge with a digital multimeter and look over the connections for any corrosion
  • Fluid levels: Inspect the engine’s oil levels and change the oil regularly
  • Electrical lines: Look for broken or cracked lines and using a digital multimeter, ensure everything works correctly

Boat Care Schedule

It’ll vary on how often you should change boat oil. Check your engine, and clean your boat. The following boat care guide schedule will help you know when and how often to inspect it.


Every month, you should give your boat’s exterior a good cleaning, as well as the interior. Salt and dirt will accumulate quickly if you don’t stay on top of your cleaning each month.

Check the bilges to identify any small problems before they turn into bigger ones and run your engines to make sure they’re in working order. Check the fluids and coolant levels and make sure to pump out your waste tank.


Give your boat a nice wax to keep it shiny and protect the exterior from salt and the sun’s harmful rays. Wash and waterproof the canvas to prevent fading and keep it in lasting condition.

Change the engine oils and filters at least once a year and clean out the water tanks to keep your water storage clean and fresh. If you use storage tanks or an onboard sanitation system, look them over annually to keep them in top shape.

Finally, do a vessel safety check to stay on top of the safety rules and regulations and do a thorough inspection of the entire body of the boat, just to make sure your boat is in tip-top shape for the water. 

Learn How to Inspect a Boat

Cleaning, storage, and regular boat inspection are essential to keep your boat thriving on the waters. Keep a savvy boat maintenance checklist and care for your boat monthly and annually, and you’ll catch and prevent future breakdowns. 

Did you find this article useful? If so, check out our other lifestyle articles for more useful tips and information!







Trevor Anderson wrote this article on behalf of FreeUp. FreeUp is the fastest-growing freelance marketplace in the US. FreeUp only accepts the top 1% of freelance applicants. Click here to get access to the top freelancers in the world.  





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