To keep your vessel moving on the water, start by maintaining your engine. Basic maintenance on your engine can reduce downtime and minimize overall owning and operating costs. Below are a few do-it-yourself tips to routinely perform before you head out for the waves.
#1: Use Antifreeze
Antifreeze is used to protect the engine coolant from freezing. In areas of the world where the temperature drops below 32 degrees F (0 degrees C), at least a 50 percent glycol concentration (antifreeze) is needed to avoid cracked blocks. Antifreeze also raises the boiling point of water. As such, a minimum of 30 percent glycol concentration is recommended in warm climates for protection against engine overheating
#2: Check & Clean Your Battery
Batteries are required to do more and more on modern boats, including starting engines and powering radios, radar, lights, pumps and other electronics. Batteries have a finite life, which depends in part on the quality built in by the manufacturer. Regardless of the type of battery in your boat, there are some basic steps you can take to keep it working properly:
#3: Use Proper Engine Fluids
The first step for critical cooling system care is making sure you’re using the proper fluids. Either distilled or deionized water should be used with approved antifreeze and approved supplemental coolant additive or rust inhibitor. (Fishermen in warmer climates don’t need to use antifreeze, but must still use the coolant conditioners.) Use a low-silicate antifreeze that meets one of the following specifications: GM 6038-M or ASTM #D4985. The fluid in the jacket water cooling system should not consist of plain tap water or water which has been “softened” by a domestic water softener. Tap water is not recommended for engine cooling systems because of additives, contaminants and other chemicals (such as salt, chlorides, sulfates, etc.) found in the water.