1. For inboard-outboard powered boats, be sure to inspect sterndrive bellows on an annual basis, and replace every three to five years. The shift bellows is usually the first to fail, according to BoatUS.
2. Boaters who own inboard powered boats should check the stuffing box every time they visit the boat, and repack every spring, rather than simply tightening down the nut.
3. For engines with raw water hoses, replace them the moment they begin to show some wear and tear. Signs of dilapidation include the appearance of small cracks or feeling “spongy” when squeezed. Rusty hose clamps should also be replaced.
4. Replace the engine cooling system impeller approximately every two to three years.
5. Inspect the boat’s cockpit and livewell plumbing. Take careful consideration to look at hoses, clamps and cracked or broken fittings. All of the plumbing should be inspected, and if a boat owner is unable to inspect the plumbing in its entirety, installing inspection ports can make the task easier.
6. Look at all below-waterline fittings, hoses and clamps before the start of each boating season.
7. Don’t forget the drain plug!
8. When boating with friends and family members, ask guests to help keep their eyes peeled for deadheads. If the boat has grounded or hit something, consider a short-haul to inspect the bottom or drive gear.
9. When storms are in the forecast, always pull trailerable boats from the water. These boats generally have too little freeboard to stand up to any kind of wave action.
10. Dock line management systems that keep the boat centered in the slip can prevent snags that could potentially lead to a sinking.