A boat maintenance log

By Tom Keer

Mar 31, 2016

I have heard them so often I sometimes hear them in my sleep.

I have heard them so often I sometimes hear them in my sleep. A stitch in time saves nine. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Fail to plan, plan to fail. The list goes on, but the point is sharp and true. If you're not moving ahead you're falling behind. If you're not keeping your outboard in good repair, then you will have on-the-water issues.

It took me exactly one time to learn the hard way, and that was when my steering cable froze. It wasn't a big problem for my buddy was on the water about a mile away. He radioed that he'd give me a tow, not a problem. The issue was that he was on a pod of hot fish and I was going to have to wait until he was done catching.

Beggers can't be choosers, so that wasn't the straw that broke my camel's back. My problem came when he radioed me every 15 minutes to tell me how many fish he caught and that the big fish were just starting to show up. My blood boiled.

So since I'd rather go fishing than hear my buddy razz me about it, I keep a boat maintenance log. Here's an example of when normal engine work should be done so you can keep ahead of the curve.

Task Time in months    Hours of Operation
Oil and filter 6 375
Fuel filter 12 1000
Adjust valves 24 2000
Transmission oil 24 2000
Drive belt 12 1000
Flush cooling system  72 6000
Clean air filter 6 1000
Check prop Every time Every time
Steering cable grease 12 Season
Battery charge 12 Charge after periods of low/no use

Make sure you register your boat before you get out on the water!

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.