Polishing: A high gloss finish is nicer than a dull one, and a shiny surface also has the ability to reflect sunlight. The gel coat looks nicer and does not become brittle. Wash down the boat and canopy regularly with fresh water.
When you take good care of the canopy it will last for years. Avoid folds in windows. Later models only require washing down with fresh water. Older canopies should be washed and waterproofed regularly. It is easy to see when moisture begins to penetrate the canopy, causing discoloration. There is nothing to worry about, but it is best to prevent further build up.
It is important to allow for air circulation in the interior. Condensation can leave smelly cushions and fabrics, so be sure to provide for ventilation when the boat is to be left for a while. You can also place a dehumidifier in the interior to keep it dry.
Make use of fair weather for a proper airing out.
Varnished surfaces keep well when treated with a little furniture polish a couple of times during the season.
Teak left in the open should as a rule never be varnished. Teak is protected by natural oils, and when exposed to weather it will gradually become grey and eventually almost white. Historically this is a desired characteristic. The teak decks on ships of old helped keep it cooler below because the bright deck reflected sun rays.
Many people agree that teak looks best in its original lustre. Varnish is not a solution because the wood’s natural oils will cause the varnish to peel off after a short time. Special oils can be used to keep teak in its original colour. The teak should be treated twice during the season. Stains and discolouration can be removed using special cleaning agents to recondition the surfaces. We agree that new teak is beautiful, but it requires a bit of effort to keep up the appearance. If you want easier maintenance just let the natural processes evolve. After all. Maritime history is on your side.
In a motor boat you must depend absolutely on the engine. Modern engines are very reliable, but even the best engines don’t work without oil, clean fuel and electrical power.
Following these simple steps will increase reliability and reduce maintenance and fuel expenses.
Check the diesel fuel filter often. (See owner’s manual for location). Regardless of how scrupulous you otherwise may be, you have no protection from sediments and water from filling station tanks. The diesel filter captures these contaminants, but it must be emptied on a regular basis.
Keeping the engine room fairly clean makes it easier to spot irregular stains and oil spills. It is also prudent to check oil and coolant levels regularly. Without sufficient lubricants and coolant the engine will overheat and risk being damaged.
Boats with propeller shafts and rudders are much simpler than boats with stern drives, but propeller shafts also need maintenance. Modern boats usually have automatic lubrication systems, so you are spared crawling around in the engine room with a grease gun between trips. You should, however, familiarize yourself with the engine room layout so you easily can check if there is sufficient grease in the system. Without lubricant seawater will begin to penetrate the bearing, and if the bearing is dry it could heat up causing the axel to seize.
Stern drive boats have many more moving parts than boats with propeller shafts. The only things that protect mechanical and electronic parts from the aggressive sea water environment are the bellows and bushings. Regular inspection of these rubber parts are a good investment. Look for cracks. Services should be preformed in accordance with the owners manual. This will increase safety and reduce expenses.
Below the waterline:
Besides checking the rudder and propeller, or the stern drive, it is very important to check that the Zink anode is in place. The Zink anode protects other metals from corrosion, and if your boat has had the same anode for several years it should be replaced as soon as possible. Anodes have a limited life and should be replaced each season. Even if it still is in one piece, it is probably not very effective.
The right anti-fouling: There are several different types of anti-fouling with varying properties according to their use. Self-polishing anti-fouling works well on our sports cruisers. Good anti-fouling prevents barnacles, algae and other marine organisms from growing on your boat. The organisms do not harm your boat, but they rob it of speed and cause excessive fuel consumption. Props and stern drives can be treated with a special agent that is available in handy spray-cans at your chandlery.
If you are applying anti-fouling yourself, please make sure to remove all loose material first and build up a new layer where the gel coat is bare. Start with a primer and follow with two coats of anti-fouling. One coat will suffice if the old paint is intact. Be sure to use gloves and a paint roller. Use masking tape on the waterline.