Course Outline

Check your boat for safety violations before you launch

Keeping your boat well-maintained will extend its life and give you and your family many more years of enjoyment.

  • Examine the interior and exterior of the hull when it is out of the water.
    • Check for oxidation, a common problem on aluminum hulls, that appears as white powder spots. Use fine sandpaper on oxidized areas until spots are replaced by bright shiny metal.
    • To protect the environment, use only environmentally safe, non-phosphate detergents to remove oil and algae from fiberglass hulls. Avoid abrasive materials, which can remove the shiny top layer (gel coat). Patch holes immediately with a fiberglass patching compound.
    • Check through-hull fittings to make sure they are not cracked or leaking.
    • Remove all puddles from the interior before and after every outing.
  • Store boats in a dry area out of the sun. If you must store the boat for a long period of time, place the trailer on blocks to preserve the tires. Keep the boat covered, leaving an opening to circulate air. Hang canoes upside down.
  • Clean all lines (ropes). Dirt and sand cause deterioration. Keep lines out of the sun when not in use, and replace weakened or fraying lines.
  • Clean sails with a soft brush. Examine them for small tears or open seams that can be repaired by taping or sewing.
  • Refer to the owner’s manual for a maintenance schedule.
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