Owning a boat is not a passive activity. Boats require regular upkeep, maintenance, and cleaning if you want your boat to perform out on the water.
If you don't care for your boat regularly, it's not going to get you where you want it to go. And if it does, it might take longer than it should in order to get there. Even worse, you might get stranded in the water if you neglect ongoing maintenance.
So if you want to keep fishing, keep sailing, and keep exploring, it's up to you to know which pieces of marine hardware are the most important, and how to keep them in top performance.
What are the most important pieces of hardware to keep a closer eye on? Keep reading to increase your knowledge and know-how as a boat owner.
1. Boat Propellers
First and foremost, you need to keep an eye on your propeller. These are foundational to your ability to move in the water.
A good propeller is going to resist corrosion and last a long time. Whether it's aluminum or steel, it should be made from marine-grade materials that can stand up to both fresh and saltwater.
After each trip, make sure you make a visual inspection of your propeller. Look for any cracks, dents, or dings that could become a bigger problem later on. These are much easier to fix when they are small.
A diehard boat owner will be able to file these or fill them in on their own. If you don't know how to do this, it's probably time to learn.
Also, study the shape of your blades. A common problem from hitting rocks or hard surfaces is a bent blade. But since blades are already curved, it can be difficult to tell by the untrained eye. And be sure to deal with corrosion right away.
If your outboard propeller has seen too many battles and is beyond repair, it's time to upgrade. A new, performance-optimized propeller will make your boat run like a dream.
Consider stainless steel props over aluminum ones, as they will be lighter and faster to accelerate. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a Mercury propeller for sale, as these are top of the line when it comes to boat propulsion. You can use our boat prop selector to determine which props will fit your motor.
2. Deck Hardware
Your deck hardware is made up of different components. Some of the most important include handrails, mooring bitts, and marine cleats.
It's vital that you have handrails and grab bars in place, particularly when you have passengers riding with you. While boarding and navigating a bot has become seconds nature to you, it may be a totally new experience for some.
It's important to inspect your cleats and mooring bits for damage. They need to be free of sharp edges that could compromise ropes and lines. Different types of cleats are available depending on the type of boat and application.
3. Drivetrain Hardware
If you want your motor and propeller to move your boat forward, then you need to take care of your drivetrain. Maintaining your drivetrain should be one of the first things you learn how to do as a boat owner.
Check to see if you have a flex coupling between your gearbox and your prop shaft. It's a simple piece to add if you don't have one and can help prevent damage from electrical currents.
Also, if your shaft packing is worn out, make sure to replace that, or too much water might be getting into your drivetrain.
4. Steering Hardware
It's best to inspect your steering system at least once a year. One way to keep it clean and working properly is to locate the support rod in the engine.
Clean off this rod, taking care to remove as much hardened grease as you can. Once all the old grease is gone, you can apply new, clean grease.
You can also remove your steering wheel and regrease the steering shaft here too.
5. Prop Shaft
Your shaft is what connects the propeller to the engine. It's responsible for providing torque and rotation, moving your boat forward.
Inspect the prop shaft regularly to ensure there's no fishing line wrapped around it. If you find some, carefully remove it.
Clean off the grease on the shaft so you can inspect it for any issues. Make sure the seal is intact and free from damage, as this protects the gearcase, which enables functionality. If you find damage or leaks in the shaft seal, it may be best to have a professional inspect for further damage.
Otherwise, you can order new dripless seals and replace yours on your own.
6. Marine Strainers
Maintaining your sea strainer is important in order to keep out vegetation and debris from your water intake system. You don't want your engine to get plugged up, stranding you out on the sea, right? Tons of accidents happen as a result of failing thru-hull fittings and valves.
Check your thru-hull for damage each chance you get. Your seawater strainer should be cleaned out every month or two, especially if there's tons of vegetation and seagrass where you drive your boat.
And when looking at your strainer, keep an eye out for corroded clamps and hoses, which may need replacement.
7. Exhaust Fittings
Keeping your boat's exhaust in working order will also maintain your engine. A leak in your exhaust system can result in unwanted water of carbon monoxide, neither of which you want to experience.
Make sure the screens and traps are free from any type of debris. Check the muffler. If your system is getting too hot, you might be able to see damage in the form of flaking paint or discoloration.
You can also install a check valve. This will keep water from moving backward, damaging your engine.
Learning the Basics of Marine Hardware and Maintenance
Most boat owners are happy to learn how to maintain their boats. After all, it's your pride and joy, right?
Even if you aren't too handy, learning some of the basic pieces of marine hardware and simple maintenance steps will allow you to spend more time on the water and less time having your boat repaired.
And anytime you need replacement or upgrade parts to ensure smooth sailing, you can order from Deep Blue Yacht Supply for the best pricing and worldwide shipping.