Easy Tips for Proper Boat Maintenance

Boat Maintenance

You could purchase the world’s toughest boats, but it doesn’t mean that you can get away without taking care of it. To keep your vessel sea worthy, you have to put a little bit of elbow grease and care into your boat. Here are some easy tips:

Cleaning & Care
Wash your boat regularly. Not only does routine cleaning facilitate a more pleasant and organized environment, but it also goes a long way towards counteracting the long-term effects of environmental wear and tear. Waxing and use of anti-fouling paint can also help protect your boat from the elements.

Keep a checklist that includes everything from boat motor maintenance and winterization to boat trailer maintenance. You also want to be sure to check your fluid levels on a regular basis, and be sure that you have a good amount of Yamaha 2W oil.

Proper Mooring
One of the most common ways a boat can start to show scratches and damage is not only from when it’s in use, but from when it’s being docked. Make sure lines are securely fastened in place, neatly coiled and do not show signs of breakage.

Battery Care
Depending on the type of battery your boat uses, check to ensure that it is properly charged and that it has the correct fluid levels. Also be sure to keep your battery clean, as dampness and dirt can also drain your battery.

Electrical Components
Many boating failures occur as a result of corroded electrical systems, so keeping electrical components dry should be a regular part of your boat maintenance routine.

Consider a Boat Cover
Making an investment in a boat cover can help keep your boat clean and free of a variety of contaminants that aren’t just related to dirt or water, falling leaves and bird droppings can also cause a lot of damage if left unchecked.

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Routine Engine Upkeep

yamalube 2w oilWhether you are an avid boater or just occasionally go out for recreation, it is important to understand the basics of boat maintenance. While the task of performing repairs on your craft may seem daunting, most preventative measures and basic maintenance is easy for anyone with a set of tools. By taking a little time to inspect your boat after every outing, you can avoid having to dole out big bucks later.

Flushing the engine is a good idea after every boat trip, whether it’s in fresh or salt water. If the water is hot during this process, it is usually an indication that you have some debris in your system. When this happens, simply insert a piece of wire into the flow tube and dislodge the clog.

It is important to make sure that all of the moving components of your engine are well-lubed at all times. On a regular basis you should check for cracks and excessive wear on the engine. Of course, you always want to have a good level of quality oil; I use Yamalube 2w oil in my boat.

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Proper Boat Care for Performance and Longevity

outboardAs most people can deduce, the most important aspect of achieving longevity from your watercraft is proper maintenance. Not only will this add years to the life of your boat, but it will also improve the performance when it’s in use. How you care for your boat will largely depend on where you keep it, whether that is tied to the dock or safely ashore.

Boats that are constantly docked will naturally incur more mildew and will be prone to rusting. When mooring, be sure that all of the ties are securely fastened, the bumpers are out and that the hull is not scraping. Obviously these dangers are not imminent if you keep your boat on land, but it is still important to keep it covered and protected from the elements.

The motor is the heart of your boat, and as such, it requires special attention. To achieve optimal performance, you should flush the motor after every use, and check it for damage and corrosion. Also be sure to inspect all of boat’s systems, such as the cooling, and be sure that there is a good level of Evinrude XD50 oil.

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Guide for Selecting a Used Outboard Motor

outboard motor oilIn a perfect world, we would all be able to afford precisely what our hearts desire. There wouldn’t be much diversity in the boating world, as we’d all be cruising past each other in top-of-the line boats with high-end outboard motors attached to the transom. Just think of all the luxury and convenience we would experience on a daily basis. Unfortunately, we would also miss out on many of the great stories that make boating so much fun. Old, well-worn boats have a certain character that their new counterparts lack. To an extent, the same could be said for outboards themselves.

There are several considerations to make upfront when selecting a used outboard motor for your vessel. They fall into three main categories: age, accessories and brand reliability. First, be sure you understand the difference between age and use. An eight-year-old outboard that has lain dormant inside a garage will be in much better shape than a four-year-old engine that has been run hard and denied basic maintenance. Check to ensure that the motor in question operates with a TC-W3 formulation of outboard motor oil.

Choose the accessories that best complement your pre-existing boat. For instance, find a motor that features cable steering, an electric start and other features that make boating more simple if you have a boat that allows for it logistically. As a final consideration, do some research about the specific brand of motor in which you want to invest. The big names in outboards have remained the same for decades: Yamaha, Evinrude, Mercury.

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Preventive Care for Outboard Motors

bulk-outboard-motor-oil1For most fishermen and fans of recreational water sports, a boat represents one of the most serious investments in one’s life. It generally comes down to a house, a car, and then a boat – in that order. So, assuming your boat is the third biggest financial investment in your life, doesn’t it deserve the sort of time and energy you put into your other prized possessions? After all, your home might be remodeled, repainted or at least cleaned each spring. And you wouldn’t think of driving your car much more than 3,000 miles without an oil change, would you?

While there aren’t universal rules about adding bulk outboard motor oil to the boat engine, it’s up to you to consult your owner’s manual for guidelines. When boating season begins, it’s best to take your winterized boat to a professional mechanic. After that, you should be able to handle post-trip routine maintenance. It’s important to always flush out the engine – whether you’re boating in salt water or fresh.

The only tools necessary for this task are a garden hose and a set of rabbit ears, or seals that slip into the lower unit of the engine. Take this opportunity to check the stream of water as it flows out of the pump. If it’s hot, there could be some debris jammed inside. This will end up taxing the engine too much, so it’s best to shut things down and root around inside the tubing for the source of blockage. After that, disconnect the fuel line and burn all the fuel in the carburetor.

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Browsing for Used Boats in the Offseason

mercury-oilNow that winter is on the way and likely to stay in parts of America for the next several months, many boaters enter a planning stage. Since they cannot get out on the lake to go fishing or just to cruise around aimlessly, a number of thoughts begin to enter their heads. Foremost among these is the question of whether to buy a new boat. Every spring like clockwork, thousands of people show up at marinas and dealerships ready to make such a purchase.

From an economic standpoint, these last few years have been slightly different. The uncertainty of the job market has made some people wary about investing too much in luxury items. These concerns have led to a resurgence in the used boat market, convincing consumers to look at the bright side of an aging vessel. The key is to think about the purposes for which one plans to use the boat.

Fishing boats and those intended for recreational water sports feature a completely disparate construction. After you’ve narrowed down your selection to the type of boat, take a gander at the hull to check for structural damage. Then study the inner workings such as the outboard motor. Does it look like it’s been given plenty of mercury oil over the years? Signs of corrosion and leakage might be enough to keep you away from making the investment.

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How Does an Outboard Motor Work?

yamaha_2_stroke_9_9Since their introduction in the early 1900s, outboard motors have revolutionized the way in which we think about boating. Prior to that, boaters and fishermen were largely dependent on the direction of wind or – for those who felt like using oars – brute force. Outboards have taken the focus of our attentions of locomotion, allowing us to think about catching fish or just enjoy the scenery.

Marine motors work in a deceptively simple way. Much like car engines, they generate power by burning gasoline and oxygen inside a cylinder. In the case of a boat, only one cylinder is generally used. The end result is that the engine powers a propeller submerged below the water’s surface and behind the boat. Two cycle outboard oil is applied to keep the motor properly lubricated and running smoothly.

So, it all starts in the cylinder where gasoline mixes with air, burns and creates power to move the piston back and forth. The piston rod connects to a crankshaft, which turns and causes the main driveshaft to turn as well. This long driveshaft is attached to a gearbox that converts the spinning motion into kinetic energy to move the propeller. Finally, the propeller pushes the boat through the water.

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Fuel Tanks Beware: The Ethanol Issue

ethanolAs many boaters know, the Environmental Protection Agency has been cracking down of production of inefficient vehicles in recent years – whether they are designed to drive along roads or motor through a waterway. In some respects, the influx of restrictions and guidelines has been a good thing. After all, most boaters want to make as little lasting environmental impact as possible as they go about their hobby.

Unfortunately, all this eco-awareness has led the EPA and many government lobbyists to embrace the ethanol industry. Ethanol is drawn from corn and acts as an excellent solvent when added to regular fuel. It absorbs water, which can be a serious problem in automotive and marine fuel tanks alike. When much more than 10 percent ethanol is present in fuel, a layering effect occurs.

Most outboard motors are not capable of handling the lumpy layer of sediment that seeps to the bottom of a fuel tank when ethanol and water combine. For those with older, fiberglass fuel tanks, it’s best to avoid ethanol whenever possible and to use good water-separating fuel filters the rest of the time. Make sure to replenish your supply with fresh Evinrude outboard oil, and do your research before switching fuel types.

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The Steady Evolution of Snowmobiles

yamaha-2s-oilThe first snowmobile-esque vehicle to be manufactured was intended for military and police transportation. In the mid to late ’50s, Bombardier created a rudimentary snow track machine capable of holding up to a dozen people. Needless to say, this machine bore little resemblance to the sleek, sporty recreational sleds of today. Bombardier released a more compact snowmobile in 1959; for the first time, such a machine was meant for public use.

It didn’t take long for Bombardier’s rivals to begin introducing rival sleds, and this influx of competition brought about plenty of technological innovation. The designs of early snowmobiles left plenty to be desired. They were underpowered to begin with, and their frames were the opposite of aerodynamic. High-performance 2 stroke engines were released as snowmobiles gained widespread popularity.

These 2 strokes, both then and now, were kept performing at peak condition with the help of Yamaha 2s oil. In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency has cracked down on high-emissions vehicles. Rigid environmental guidelines forced some companies to make a switch to 4 stroke engines while other manufacturers found ways to improve efficiency of their existing 2 stroke formula.

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Have You Winterized Your Boat?

mercury-engine-oilAs much as we might hate to admit it, most anglers are faced with an offseason that lasts at least several months. When spring comes around, we can start our love affair with the fishing boat all over again. Until then, it’s up to us to winterize and find other ways to pass the time – such as snowmobiling. But before you hop on that sled, let’s take some time to ensure that you’ve done all you can to winterize the boat effectively.

If possible, store your boat on land. This prevents the possibility of water seeping through the hull fittings or gate valves, freezing and expanding. Over the course of an entire winter, this can cause severe harm to the structure and cost you lots of money. Add anti-freeze to parts of the boat that are intended to contain water such as water tanks, septic holding tanks and toilets.

Drain the boat’s cooling system and add anti-freeze. Do so dipping the water intake into a bucket of anti-freeze and running the engine for a few minutes. The battery should be disconnected and stored on land. Drain the existing motor oil and replace it with Mercury engine oil. Drain and replace the transmission and outdrive oils and top off the tanks with a fuel stabilizer.

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Snowmobiles Explained: Safe Sledding

snowmobiling1Today we conclude our week-long look at snowmobiles. It all began Monday with an exploration of a typical sled’s drive system. From there, we compared and contrasted snowmobile tracks with those of a tank. Yesterday we posted some brief thoughts on the environmental impact of snowmobiling and the importance of replenishing two cycle oil. Now let’s head even further down the trail to discuss safety tips.

As is the case with any vehicle, you must familiarize yourself with the terrain before deciding to see how fast you can go. You wouldn’t drive 55 mph in a car down a narrow residential street for obvious reasons. Even if you’re riding a snowmobile in a secluded spot, the quality and condition of the snow will make a huge difference. Snowmobiles are set lower to the ground than motorcycles, which might lead you to believe that there’s less risk of injury. Bear in mind, however, that the open sled design creates a very real possibility of falling off.

The most critical pieces of safety equipment for a snowmobiler are the helmet, gloves and boots. Gloves and boots help keep the extremities safe from frostbite, which can nip away at fingers and toes to make precision steering a difficult task. When sledding in a populated area, snowmobilers must be familiar with conventional hand signals – they’re very similar to the ones used by bicyclists. For example, a right turn is signaled by sticking the left arm straight out to the left. A right turn is signaled by pointing a bent left arm upward.

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Snowmobiles Explained: Environmental Issues

snowmobile2In the past few days our discussion of snowmobiles has run the gamut from power systems to track mechanics and steering. Today, it’s time to take a step back from the nuts and bolts to see the forest for the trees. Just what are the environmental implications of recreational sleds, and what plans are in the works to increase engine efficiency? Unlike the environmental effects of automobiles and boats, those of snowmobiles remain understudied and to some extent uncertain.

The history of snowmobile engines reflects that of outboard motors in one key way. As recently as a few decades ago, both were being manufactured with little regard for their environmental impact. The amount and content of exhaust emitted by the engines was eventually deemed unacceptable, and the rise of four-stroke engines challenged two-stroke manufacturers like Yamaha to step up their game.

Today’s snowmobiles feature reduced emissions and increased engine efficiency. Where once speed and maneuverability were a sled’s main selling points, eco-friendliness has now joined the list. Modern-day snowmobiles run best on specially formulated 2 stroke oil. Snowmobile manufacturers continue to struggle with noise pollution concerns, however. Many sled makers have taken concerted steps to reduce noise levels.

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