Whether it’s your first time on Invermere Lake this spring or last hurrah before fall, you want to make sure your boat looks like new every time you hit the water.
A little TLC before, during and after each season goes a long way to extending the life of your boat.
Here are nine tips from Total Care on how to keep your bucket looking runway ready for years to come.
- Wax on: Most fibreglass boats have a gelcoat that can look tired and chalk-like without a regular wax or polish. Consider twice-annual waxes to repel water, dirt and debris, as well as fading as a result of sun damage. Waxing also provides a barrier between a barrier between the gelcoat and staining materials, making future stains easier to remove. You might also want to consider a polish, which differs from waxing into that it can help remove oxidation from the gelcoat.
- TLC: Vinyl upholstery is subject to the same elements as the rest of your boat. Yet because material such as seat cushions are more pliable, they tend to show their age quicker. Use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt, grime, sap or residue. It’s also worth applying a vinyl protectant every three to five weeks during the summer to maximize UV protection and avoid fading.
- Canvas care: If your boat has a sunshade, you want to make sure it’s free of debris, bird droppings or dirt. Use a light brush, mild soap and water to clean your tarp. Also consider using a fabric guard to restore the canvas’ ability to repel water.
- All hands on deck: Rinse off any spills or debris as they happen. Use a medium-stiff deck brush and a boat soap to remove surface stains. For stubborn or caked-on stains, use a marine-approved deck cleaner or fibreglass stain remover.
- H2NO!: Mitigate moisture from building up in your boat by purchasing a dehumidifying moisture kit. Much like those small packs you get in shipped consumer goods, these portable canister-shaped kits will absorb moisture from the surrounding air. All you have to do is open the seal and place it on the floor of your boat. The Dry-Packs 750 Gram Silica Gel Canister Dehumidifier is available on Amazon for $32.99.
- Oil me up: Most manufacturers recommend changing the oil every 100 operating hours, or at least once per year. Dirty oil can eat away at the inner workings of your engine and reduce its lifespan. That’s intensified if contaminated oil is left sitting over the winter months.
- You spin me right round: If your boat runs on an outboard or sterndrive motor, be sure to remove the propellers a couple times a year and inspect the prop shaft. This ensures nothing has gotten tangled in the shaft, such as fishing line. If left unchecked, these blockages can damage the prop shaft seal and allow water to seep into the gearcase, leading to engine failure.
- Old man winter: Whether storing your boat in the Columbia Valley or back home in Alberta, it’s important to winterize it ahead of below-freezing temperatures. That includes flushing water out of the cooling system that could otherwise freeze or damage the engine, exhaust and heat exchanger. Your owner’s manual will outline the proper procedure. Total Care also has a certified marine mechanic who can handle all your craft’s winterizing needs.
- Invasive species: Regardless of whether you are towing your boat back to Alberta or bringing it to the Columbia Valley, be sure to clean, drain and dry it to prevent invasive species from entering into a new eco system. Zebra and quagga mussels, as well as flowering rush and fish species such as Prussian and Asian carp, have the potential to wreak havoc on aquatic habitats, fisheries, recreational resources and water-related infrastructure.
Total Care offers winterizing and detailing services as part of its indoor storage solutions. Our certified marine mechanic is a Red Seal certified heavy equipment technician with more than 10 years in the marine industry. Contact us to learn more about how we can keep your boat looking like new.