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Can You Do All Your Own Boat Maintenance?

Hello friends how are you all? Today we are going to talk about Can You Do All Your Own Boat Maintenance? Boats, like any complex machines with moving parts, require ongoing maintenance to remain operational and efficient.

Before every voyage, there’s a checklist of items you should run through, and at periodic intervals throughout your use, you’ll need to make replacements, inspect for damage, and handle other boat care basics.

Doing all this maintenance yourself could be advantageous, but is this really a good idea?

Can You Do All Your Own Boat Maintenance? 2024 Best Info

Can You Do All Your Own Boat Maintenance?

Boat Maintenance Items

Let’s start by taking a look at some examples of boat maintenance items that the average person might be able to handle. Note that this is not a comprehensive list.

  • Simple refueling. You should be able to handle your own boat refueling since this is a simple procedure you’ll need to repeat many times throughout your boat ownership.
  • Oil check/change. If you’ve ever done an oil change for a car, you can probably do an oil change for your boat. No matter what, you should be able to check it to make sure your oil levels are sufficient.
  • Propeller and skeg check. Checking your propeller and skeg for potential damage isn’t especially difficult, but if you do detect damage, you may need help with the replacement.
  • Lubrication of grease points. Certain components of your boat are greased so they can move smoothly without friction. If and when this grease wears out, you’ll need to reapply the lubricant, which is typically a simple matter.
  • Motor upgrades. If there are any issues with your motor, or if you just want a more powerful one, you may be able to attempt a repair or replacement yourself. For example, you may want to replace your existing outboard motor with a new electric boat motor. This is much, much easier with an outboard motor since you’ll have direct access to it; if you have an indoor motor, this process will be more complicated.
  • Cleaning and waxing. Cleaning and waxing your boat may seem superficial, but this is an important maintenance item if you want your boat to remain in good condition and protected from the elements.
  • Spark plug replacement. Replacing a spark plug only takes a few minutes, and should be within the grasp of any DIYer.
  • Bolt tightening. Anything loose on your boat should be tightened; you don’t need any special tools or training to handle this.
  • Bilge cleaning. If you can follow a simple set of instructions, you can probably clean your bilge with no problem.

Advantages Of Doing Your Own Maintenance

As you can see, most boat maintenance items aren’t ridiculously hard to do. And there are several advantages of doing it yourself:

  • Save money. One of the biggest motivations for practicing your own boat maintenance is saving money. Getting your boat serviced isn’t especially expensive, especially if you find an honest mechanic. But over the years, you could save hundreds, or even thousands of dollars by doing all the work yourself.
  • Gain more control. Some people like to practice their own boat maintenance because it gives them a stronger sense of control over the craft they love. They can make all the adjustments and customizations they want with total freedom.
  • Earn mechanical knowledge. Practicing your own maintenance gives you more mechanical knowledge. You’ll become more familiar with the moving parts of your vessel and better capable of handling more advanced problems. If your boat suffers a failure on the water, you may be able to handle it yourself.
  • Spend more time on your favorite hobby. If you’re passionate about boats, you may see boat maintenance as a way to spend more time with your favorite hobby.

Disadvantages Of Doing Your Own Maintenance

However, just as with car maintenance and repairs, the DIY approach can be associated with some negative outcomes.

  • Spend more time (total). Even though this may be your hobby, you may end up spending an annoying amount of time doing maintenance on your own.
  • Risk neglect and errors. If you make a mistake with your approach to maintenance, you could make your boat run inefficiently. Even worse, you could cause a catastrophic failure.
  • Lose confidence in operation. Are you confident that you did everything correctly? If you start second-guessing yourself, or if your boat starts making a funny noise after your latest round of maintenance, you may never feel fully safe on the water.

Doing your own maintenance on a boat is certainly possible, and it’s not unthinkably challenging, even if you’re a mechanical amateur. That said, there are some risks involved that you need to be aware of. If you’re new, or if you’re not feeling confident, your best bet is to take your boat in to be serviced for everything other than minor issues. Focus on building your knowledge and experience if you want to tackle more things on your own.

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