General Maintenance

One of the best ways to protect our local aquatic ecosystems is by proactively managing our vessels. This not only reduces harmful environmental impacts, but will also extend your engine and boat’s life, and helps to protect you while on the water. Preventive boat maintenance before and after each outing is recommended and this can easily be achieved by creating a checklist.

The items listed below only cover points that might directly impact the environment. It’s not a comprehensive list for overall boat maintenance.

Before Each Trip:

  • Inspect the boat hull and engine cases for leaks or damage.
  • Check the propeller (impeller on jet drives) for signs of damage. A faulty propeller will not operate efficiently and will cost more in fuel and overall repairs. Also, make sure no rope or lines are caught up in the propeller, as these could cut through the lower gearcase propeller shaft seal.
  • Examine the gearcase for leakage. If oil is leaking out of the gearcase, check to see if the oil is contaminated.
  • Check that the bilges are clean and dry, investigate any leaks and check that the bilge pump works.
  • Check that the bungs are not worn and that the washers are in good condition.
  • Make sure all seacocks are functional.
  • Inspect all anodes for signs of wear and tear.
  • Look for corrosion around electrical systems, and make sure that they are kept clean and greased.
  • If any damage or problems are detected, quickly address any required maintenance.

After Every Trip

  • Flush your outboard engine each time it's used with freshwater. Use earmuffs (an attachment with two flexible rubber seals connected with a metal clamp) over the water intake and a freshwater hose. Tilt engine and rinse underneath to prevent salt buildup.
  • Rinse your boat and trailer. Try using water-only wash downs. If you must use detergents, be sure to use Non-toxic Cleaning Products. A clean hull will save you up to 20% in fuel each year.

For more specific information, check out the following:

Green Boating Guide: