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Checklist: Boat Maintenance

Checklist: Boat Maintenance

Table of Contents

Summer is finally here.  The sun is shining and bringing with it warm temperatures.  Clearly you will want to be out enjoying these summer days and what better way to do it than getting out on the water?  Before you take your boat out, it’s a good idea to make sure your sterndrive engine or outboard motor is top running shape. Below we have compiled list of some items to review before taking your boat out. This checklist for boat maintenance does not represent everything you should check but does give good suggestions of where you should start. Please consult a certified marine repair mechanic prior to working on your boat motor.  We also suggest consulting your owner’s manual for maintenance instructions specific to your boat model.

MerCruiser On Water


Cables, Belts & Hoses

Always check for cracking that occurred during winter storage.
Control cables with cracks or swelling on the outer layer may indicate need to replace.Belts should fit tightly around the pulleys to prevent slipping. A worn belt may have a black substance near the pulley & also may fit loosely.
Contact your boat repair center or order cables online to replace yourself.

Electrical Connections

Kansas City Area Mechanic fixing boat

Charge your battery and test it so you can be sure it will hold a charge. Electrical systems should be routinely inspected by a qualified technician.Review electrical connections for cleanliness and tightness. Check for corrosion which is often a sign that the connection may not be safe. Remove terminals and use a wire brush to clean connections and cable ends.

Propellers & Hulls

Inspect propellers for damage. Verify the propeller is properly secured.
If you experience unwanted vibration, poor performance and damage to the propulsion system, your prop may be damaged & need to be replaced.
Inspect the Hull – look for cracks & distortions. Clean the outside of your boat using an environmentally-safe cleaner.


Check your fuel lines for damage. Signs of damaged hoses can be either cracking, hard hoses or very soft hoses. Remember to check fuel hoses, connections and tank surfaces.
Insure clamps and fitting are secured.
Ensure the engine, exhaust and ventilation systems are also all functioning properly.

Fluid Levels

-Check all fluid levels including
-Engine oil: Change the oil if this was not done during winterizing. Include a new oil filter & change drive lubricants
-Power trim reservoir
-Power Steering Fluid


Inspect trailer wheels, verify that tires are inflated to proper level.
Check that trailer straps are not worn and are holding properly.
Verify that your trailer is the proper size for your boat.

Safety Gear

Lifejackets need to be in good condition It’s important for passengers to have access to the correct size lifejacket for their body weight.
Onboard fire extinguishers must be the correct class for your boat, fully charged.

Go here for a more extensive boat maintenance checklist.