Boat Maintenance & Winterization

Maintenance & Winterization

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Nothing can ruin a day of fun on the water more than a boat that won’t start, overheats or has some other kind of mechanical malfunction. Your attention instantly pivots from fishing, swimming, watersports, or other pleasurable activities to worrying about whether you’re going to be able to make it back to shore. However, boat problems don’t have to be catastrophic to spoil your enjoyment. A boat that’s become hard to steer because the steering cables haven’t been lubed in a while may just be annoying, but if the problem isn’t investigated it could result in a complete loss of steering control. Performing regular maintenance on your vessel is the best way to prevent major and minor malfunctions and make it as reliable as possible, so you can avoid becoming stranded out on the water. A combination of timely inspections and services, and the application of quality products like the kind you’ll find here on our digital shelves, will ensure your craft provides dependable service, performs to its potential and lasts a long time.

Your boat’s owner’s manual contains a schedule or chart listing the recommended maintenance tasks and the time intervals at which each one should be performed. There may also be a separate engine owner’s manual. Time intervals may be in number of hours, months, and because most boats are used seasonally, at the beginning and end of the season. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, we recommend that you follow a maintenance schedule that’s appropriate for your craft, but no matter what check list you’re using, see us for everything needed to get the job done right. We have all the essentials for getting your boat ready for the season, regular maintenance during the season, and when you’re winterizing. Our selection includes premium 4-cycle motor oils specially formulated for the unique demands of inboard and outboard marine applications, which provide lubrication and protection for engines operated at constant high rpms, and protection against corrosion during extended storage periods, as well as top quality 2-cycle oils. We also have oil filters, complete oil change kits, and the oil change pumps that make engine oil changes easy.

Here you’ll also find gear oil; transmission, hydraulic steering, power tilt & trim, and sterndrive/lower unit fluids for changes and topping off, and lower unit fluid pumps; coolant for closed cooling systems; lubricants and grease for areas like steering systems and propeller shafts; air filter/flame arrestors, fuel filters and fuel/water separators; and spark plugs. We also carry parts like ignition wires; cooling hoses, alternator/water pump serpentine and V-drive belts, battery cables, and much more that are commonly found to be in need of replacement when performing pre-season inspections. “Zincs” also require regular replacement. Boats are in a constant battle against corrosion caused by electrolysis. Sacrificial anodes, commonly called zincs, although they can be made of other metals including aluminum and magnesium, are used to prevent damage by corroding instead of the critical parts they’re attached to. We have a large selection of anodes in many sizes and styles, and for mounting in locations including propeller shafts, rudders, hull plates, and stern drives.

Winterize your boat properly and it will be in great shape and ready to go when the season begins next year. We have fuel stabilizer to prevent phase separation, water and sludge buildup, and possible fuel system and engine damage caused by today’s ethanol-blended fuels; fogging oil to protect internal engine surfaces from corrosion during storage; multi-purpose lubricants to prevent corrosion on bare metal and unpainted surfaces; and antifreeze for engine cooling systems and boat plumbing systems. If you have an FLA (Flooded Lead Acid) battery, check the electrolyte level and top off with distilled water, as necessary. You can help ensure a quick startup out of storage as well as long battery life if you keep the battery connected to one of our battery maintainers through the winter. With a maintainer, your battery will be brought to full charge and then constantly monitored to make sure it stays that way. Our maintainers can be used with FLA batteries, gel batteries, and AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries. And if you need some maintenance and repair guidance, we have service manuals that are filled with specifications, easy to follow maintenance, repair and diagnostic procedures, and dozens of helpful illustrations.

Washing your boat should also be a regular part of your maintenance regimen. It’s especially important if you cruise in salt water, because if left on salt can corrode metal and mar the finish. Regular washing and general cleaning will also keep you familiar with every part of your vessel, so you can spot abnormalities and make repairs before they can turn into bigger problems. We offer washing and cleaning products specially designed for watercraft including boat wash, salt remover, bilge cleaner, mildew remover, black streak remover, oxidation and scratch remover, vinyl cleaner, tarnish remover, and much more. After cleaning you can brighten and protect every surface of your boat with our polish, wax, and spray detailer; vinyl, fabric, and multi-surface protectors; and deck and hull products including gel cleaner and restorer and teak oil.

If during cleaning, or upon pulling your boat from the water at the end of the season, you find that the hull or deck requires repair, there’s no need to look elsewhere for supplies. From minor touch-ups to major refinishing jobs we have everything for the job right here including glass fabric, fiberglass mat, fiberglass resin, hardener, and fiberglass repair kits; gelcoat and gelcoat repair kits; fairing and seam compounds, primer, thinners, topcoats, and antifouling paints for below the waterline; insulation, polymer sheets, and teak planking; and adhesives, sealers, and varnish. And with our selection of boat stands you can properly support your vessel while it’s being worked on and during the off-season. We have boat racks and pads, V-top and flat top stands, keel stands and keel stand bases, sailboat stands, motorboat stands, wood blocks, motor carriers, and more.

If you want to keep your boat in top shape you should keep it covered when it’s not being used to ensure it looks great when you’re ready to launch. Covering your vessel will protect it from damaging UV rays that can cause oxidation and fading, and shield it from bird droppings, tree sap, and tree fruit that can cause permanent paint damage if left on long enough. We offer covers made from top-of-the-line fabrics in a wide range of sizes for many types of boats including center consoles and pontoon boats. The best covers shed water and are breathable, to prevent moisture buildup that can lead to corrosion. An alternative to a boat cover is wrapping your boat in shrink wrap. But instead of having to pay for this service we can offer you the supplies to do it yourself. We have premium shrink wrap, flame retardant shrink wrap, woven strapping, film cutting knives and heat guns, and clear zipper access doors.

If you tow your boat, you’ll find everything for your tow vehicle and trailer in our trailer hitches & towing section. We offer Class 1 through Class V receiver hitches, 5th wheel hitches, hitch balls and mounts, and the harnesses, connectors, and adapters needed for hitch and trailer wiring. To ensure towing safety we have brake controllers, trailer breakaway kits, weight distribution hitches and sway control devices. Set your trailer up right with our couplers, trailer jacks, trailer brakes, winches, and boat-specific trailer accessories like bunk board and post guide-ons, keel and bow rollers, bow stands and bow stops, roller bunks, bunk brackets and bunk carpet, and much more. Plus, we have helper springs, air springs, transmission coolers, and towing mirrors so your car, truck, or SUV can tow your vessel with ease.

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Maintenance Reviews

11 reviews
I've had this cover for just about one whole season now. The fit on my boat is OK, not great. My real issue is that the cover leaks water like it's not even there. What's the point in having a cover if it doesn't keep the boat dry underneath? Suddenly I have mildew issues and I'm not happy. Do yourself a favor and just skip these cheap "one size fits most" covers. Get yourself a custom made cover, properly treated to be waterproof.
Posted by Adrian (Bath, ME) / April 27, 2022
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