Charleston Boat Care Tips

Dated: June 3 2024

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As we find summer upon us here in the Lowcountry boat owners eagerly anticipate the joys of cruising our beautiful waterways. However, the saltwater environment requires extra care to keep your vessel in top condition. Here are some essential care tips to ensure your boat remains seaworthy all season long:

1. Thorough Cleaning

Saltwater can be harsh on your boat's surfaces. Regularly rinse your boat with fresh water after each outing to remove salt residue, which can lead to corrosion. Use marine-grade soap to clean the exterior, focusing on the hull, deck, and hardware. Don’t forget to clean the bilge area to prevent salt buildup.

2. Engine Maintenance

Saltwater can be particularly damaging to your boat’s engine. Flush the engine with fresh water after every trip to remove salt deposits. Check the oil and filters, and ensure they are clean and at proper levels. Inspect the cooling system and hoses for any signs of wear or corrosion, and replace any damaged components promptly.

3. Battery Care

Charleston’s hot summers can affect your boat's battery. Make sure the battery is fully charged and inspect the terminals for corrosion. Clean any buildup with a mixture of baking soda and water, and apply a protective coating to the terminals. Consider investing in a marine battery charger to maintain optimal charge levels.

4. Propeller Inspection

Saltwater can cause corrosion on your boat's propeller. Inspect it regularly for any signs of damage or wear. Remove any debris and ensure it spins freely. If you notice any nicks or dents, it might be time to replace or repair the propeller to ensure smooth and efficient performance.

5. Safety Equipment Check

Ensure all safety equipment is in good condition and compliant with Coast Guard regulations. This includes life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, and first aid kits. Replace any expired items and ensure all passengers know the location and proper use of safety gear.

6. Hull Maintenance

Inspect the hull for cracks, blisters, or other damage that saltwater can exacerbate. Clean and wax the hull regularly to protect it from UV rays and water damage, maintaining its appearance and performance. Anti-fouling paint can help prevent marine growth, which is common in Charleston’s warm waters.

7. Bilge Pump Functionality

A reliable bilge pump is vital for keeping your boat dry. Test the pump to ensure it's working correctly and clear any debris from the bilge area. Regularly check the pump’s automatic switch and float sensor to ensure they are functioning properly.

8. Canvas and Upholstery Care

Saltwater and sun can take a toll on your boat’s canvas and upholstery. Clean and treat these materials with appropriate products to prevent fading, mildew, and deterioration. Use protective covers when your boat is not in use to shield it from UV rays and salt exposure.

9. Navigation and Communication Equipment

Ensure your GPS, radio, and other navigation tools are in working order. These devices are crucial for safe boating, especially in Charleston's busy waterways. Update any software or maps to the latest versions to ensure accurate navigation.

10. Schedule Professional Maintenance

Regular professional maintenance can help spot potential issues before they become major problems. Schedule routine check-ups with a marine mechanic to keep your boat in peak condition and address any specific concerns related to saltwater exposure.

Taking the time to properly care for your boat ensures a safe and enjoyable summer on the water! Regular maintenance not only extends the life of your vessel but also enhances your boating experience. Happy boating and most importantly stay safe!

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Dan Lorentz

About Dan Lorentz, ABR, CRS, Founder & Team Leader of Greater Charleston Properties: Founder and Team Leader of the Greater Charleston Properties Team, Dan Lorentz, has lived in the Charleston, SC ....

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