The lifestyle of a boat hobbyist can be one of daring adventure and excitement, but also comes with a responsibility to keep their boat maintained properly. It’s not enough to simply buy boat insurance and hope for the best, you need to spend time, money and energy on preventative maintenance on your vessel. Boat repairs are a fact of life for boaters, but with proper caution and care, these come up far less often than they otherwise would.

Moorage

If your boat is docked in such a way that it can shift and bang against surroundings, it’s far more likely to receive dents, scratches and unsightly abrasions. Not only are these aesthetically displeasing, they also tend to create weaknesses and cause issues on your boat later down the line. If you’re mooring your boat, purchase proper bumpers to prevent these bumps and dents from happening.

Clean and Inspect

One of the main ways to keep your boat in good shape is to continuously check it. Once a season, your boat should be lifted, washed, waxed and cleaned. At this point, you can do a thorough inspection to make sure that everything is in proper working order, and take note of any changes that need to be made. If you’re leaving your boat unattended or unused for any period of time, you’ll want to invest in a quality boat cover, which can lessen the wear and tear you may see from your boat being out in the weather. Leaves, dirt, dust, rain water and composting natural material can cause major problems with the integrity of your boat.

Protect Your Pump

The bilge is the lowest part of your vessel, an area where water can gather from rough seas, rain, or small holes in the boat. If this area fills, it can be extremely dangerous. A bilge pump is a special pump which is designed to rid this section in your boat of water. Electric bilge pumps do so without creating a spark, as gasoline can often be present in instances where a bilge is needed. These pumps are extremely important, and should be regularly checked. They should also be backed up with another pump just in case.

Safety First

Whether it’s a matter of consistently staying up to date on recalls or issues with your particular boat, or ensuring that your equipment on board is fully loaded and stocked, as a boater you need to make safety a priority. Create a checklist of things that you should watch out for such as corroded wires or mechanical aspects you should look into. Oil and grease moving parts regularly, and occasionally employ a boat mechanic to check out all your machinery to be on the safe side.

Allison writes with BoatInsurance.org, where you can learn more about getting a policy for your new boat.