As the temperatures begin to rise, many water enthusiasts will feel the call to their favorite warm-weather water activities. Whether your boat was properly winterized or simply sitting in storage during the off-season, there are several things you can do to make sure the boat is fully prepared for fun.

Preparation should include mechanical check-ups completed by a marine dealership or service center as well as small repairs that you can easily do yourself.

Regular maintenance saves money in the long run and greatly extends the life of your boat. Make sure that everything is working properly by taking it in for a comprehensive tune-up before launching into the boating season.

Most manufacturers recommend that, at a minimum, you should have the fuel filter or fuel-water separator replaced, the engine oil and oil filter changed, and the lubricant in the outdrive or transmission replaced. In addition, having the cooling system checked and the battery charged will ensure no interruption of fun this first time out.

The cost of a pre-season checkup can head off sudden and expensive repairs. Save money by keeping up on the small repairs yourself — the kinds that require only a tube of adhesive.

An amazing number of things can be repaired with an adhesive, such as tears, loose boards, peeling laminate surfaces, frayed ropes, leaks, cracks, or hardware that comes loose or breaks off.

Omar Tiba, Ph.D., product and development leader for adhesive manufacturer Eclectic Products,

Inc., suggests that using a single-part adhesive that can withstand UV damage and exposure to water is key. Amazing GOOP Marine, for example, has both of these qualities. It also can be painted for maximum UV protection and to blend in with the rest of your boat.

Adhesives such as Amazing GOOP Marine work well on repairs such as tears in the canvas cover, vinyl seats, or life jackets because it remains rubbery and flexible after drying and won’t crack under the stress of use. Hardware like loose lanyards and mirrors are bonded practically forever when reattached with such an adhesive.

Its ability to seal unlike objects, including glass, plastic, metal, leather, vinyl, wood and aluminum with maximum strength and longevity, and withstand water exposure and UV rays, makes it indispensable for people using rafts and diving equipment. Once you’re done with the adhesive, the small tube can be stored

just about anywhere and never get in the way.

Here are a few tips for keeping your boat in top shape throughout the season:

  • Whenever you take your boat into saltwater, make sure to flush the engine after the trip to prevent salt build-up.
  • Fill up your gas tank after each trip so it will resist water build-up from condensation.
  • Washing your entire boat and trailer with soap and water is an important step to boat maintenance. A car wash soap that will not strip wax, like Zip Wax, should be used rather than bleach or an abrasive cleaner.
  • Also make sure to scrub the deck with a non-skid cleaner.
  • After you’ve finished washing, dry all metal, glass and flat surfaces to avoid the mineral deposits that develop in standing water.
  • Never let your boat sit outside without a cover between uses.

Preparing your boat for warm-weather use with professional tune-ups and do-it-yourself fix-its, and maintaining it throughout the season are the best ways to keep it in top shape for years to come.

Most home improvement, hardware stores and mass merchants carry a variety of adhesives, including Amazing GOOP Marine. Make inexpensive repairs to your boat with a versatile adhesive before you set sail.

Photo by Costi