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Course Outline

Keeping your pleasure craft 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, which appears as white powder spots.
      • Use fine sandpaper on oxidized areas until spots are replaced by bright shiny metal.
      • If you sand, scrape, or remove any antifoulant coating from your pleasure craft’s hull, collect all paint residue and dispose of it properly at a household waste facility.
    • To slow the growth of marine organisms, use regular paint and a coat of slick bottom wax instead of an antifoulant coating.
      • The wax will prevent surface dirt from sticking, reducing the need for detergents when you wash your pleasure craft.
      • If you have a small boat, you can avoid using antifouling paint by storing the boat on dry land.
    • To protect the environment, use only plain water or environmentally safe, non-phosphate detergents to remove algae and oil from fiberglass hulls.
      • Clean the hull frequently with a long-handled brush at your home or marina to reduce the need for antifoulant coatings.
      • 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 pleasure craft in a dry area out of the sun. If you must store the pleasure craft for a long period of time, place the trailer on blocks to preserve the tires. Keep the pleasure craft 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.
Check your boat for safety violations before you launch
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