Boat Maintenance Tips for Safe Cruising in Ontario

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Whether it’s a sailboat moored in Bronte Harbour or powerboat up at your cottage in the Kawarthas or the Muskokas, every boat requires regular maintenance.

If you’re a boat owner, then you’ve probably already experienced the inconvenience of an engine not starting when you want to take friends or family out for a day trip. But if this breakdown happens at the wrong time, it can create a very dangerous situation.

Keep your boat — and your guests! — safe from danger with some basic boat maintenance.

The basics of boat maintenance

Maintenance can be essential for safety, but it’s also a good way to keep your boat looking clean — and avoid costly repairs in the future.

Here are a few basic maintenance tips, which apply well to any type of boat:

  • Wash your boat. Use a long-handled scrub brush and the right type of soap, so you don’t damage your gelcoat. You don’t have to worry about salt water on Ontario’s lakes, but it’s still a good idea!
  • Change your oil. Boats with four-stroke outboards and inboards will need regular oil changes — just the same as cars. Take it to your local marina or find a friend who can help you do it properly.
  • Flush the engine. Every time you take your boat out, you should flush the engine. This prevents lake sediment and debris from building up in the engine and causing damage in the long-term. There a number of ways to do this — choose the one that works best for you!
  • Check the fuel line. Older fuel lines can crack or wear over time, so you should check them periodically. Cracked fuel lines can leak fuel into the bottom of your boat and create a serious fire hazard.
  • Watch for water in your boat’s fuel tank. If water mixes with the gasoline in your fuel tank, it can be incredibly bad for your engine, causing major damage over time. Adding a stabilizer to your fuel in advance is a good safety measure. Closing the vents while your boat is at the dock is another good tip — especially if it’s going to rain!
  • Inspect the propeller. If you have an outboard engine, then a propeller inspection is a fairly straightforward matter. Just raise it up to check for nicks, dents, or fishing line wrapped around the prop shaft. Even small damage can lead to a decrease in boat performance — causing you to burn extra fuel.

The risks of unsafe boating

What’s the worst case scenario? Many boaters assume that there will always be a way out of a bad situation. Either hailing a passing boat for assistance or simply calling their friend to come get them.

It’s important to have a plan when you go boating. Check the weather beforehand — rough weather can make simple engine trouble into a potentially life-threatening situation. Tell a someone where you’re going nd when you plan to return. And be sure to bring all the necessary safety gear!

Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide is a great resource that all new boaters should be familiar with. It’s also a good idea for experienced boaters to review it from time to time.

Should you get marine insurance?

If you are purchasing a new boat or if you’re unsure about the insurance status of your current boat, then talk to the team at Oakville Insurance Brokers to learn more. We specialize in insurance for high net worth individuals in the Oakville region, which often includes yacht or sailboat insurance, personal watercraft insurance and more!

We can help you understand the unique requirements of marine insurance and find a coverage option that fits your situation.

Contact us today to learn more about boat insurance in Ontario.

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