Related Information

  • Looking for a boat but don't know which one? Check out the Boat For You section to compare boats and learn how to buy smart.
  • Visit Places to Boat and Fish to explore thousands of boating and fishing locations all around the U.S.A.

What Are Basic Boat Maintenance Tips?

Courtesy of  


  1. If you don’t use protective anti-fouling paint to repel barnacles in salt water, make sure you remove your boat from the water every few days. This will prevent build up of algae and barnacles. Scrub and wash the boat while it is wet and before putting it back in the water.
  2. If you use your boat in salt water, give it a freshwater rinse after each day of fishing.  Use plenty of soap and water and rinse thoroughly.
  3. If using an electric motor, charge the battery immediately upon returning from your fishing trip.
  4. If you use a battery to start your main engine, check the battery frequently and charge it as required.

Regularly (Weekly/Monthly)

  1. When cleaning your boat, check for any loose fittings and rivets, cracks, or other parts that need care, special attention or replacement. Fix these immediately or get the boat to a qualified marina for a detailed check up.
  2. If you don’t like to spend time washing your boat, remove all fishing tackle, seat cushions, electronics and other accessories, then run the boat through a high-pressure car wash or one of the do-it-yourself washing bays. Because of the fittings on boat trailers and some boats, avoid using brush-style car washes.
  3. Use special metal cleaners and scrubbers to maintain easily corroded chrome, aluminum or stainless steel fittings. This is especially important around salt water.
  4. When washing your boat, consider using biodegradable detergents and soaps, which are less harmful to the environment.


  1. If you have a wood boat, check it carefully each spring and fall for possible damage or rot. Be particularly vigilant in corners, under decks that might stay moist, along the waterline and at the back of the boat (transom). If you can remove your boat from the water, place it on blocks or turn it over for wintering.
  2. Scrub all boats at least once a year, more often if used in salt water. You can use a regular brush for aluminum boats, but check with your marina or boat supply retailer for special gentle soaps and tools for scrubbing gel coat or fiberglass without damage.
  3. Use special fiberglass boat polish to maintain the finish of your fiberglass boat and preserve its value.
  4. Aluminum boats require little care, but many are assembled with rivets. Make sure that you check all rivets to prevent leaks. With the boat in water, use a permanent felt tip marker or chalk to mark those rivets or areas that leak. Boat shops can fix this or you can drill out and re-rivet (use only boat rivets) or seal by hammering on one side while a friend holds a steel stop on the other side of the rivet.