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Boat Maintenance & Repair

The old joke is that a boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money—because boats generally need a lot of maintenance. Learn how to do routine maintenance on your own to save all that cash, including doing basic repairs.

How to Replace Your Sailboat's Lifelines
You depend on your sailboat's lifelines to keep you from falling overboard. Learn how to inspect aging lifelines and to replace them yourself when needed.

How to Make a Sailboat Mast Boot
If the mast of your sailboat passes through your cabin top, you need a good seal with a mast boot to prevent water from entering the cabin. You can buy an expensive one or make your own from inexpensive materials. Follow these simple steps.

Clean Your Boat’s Hull with MaryKate On & Off
When your boat’s hull is stained or dirty beyond the power of most fiberglass cleaners, use MaryKate On & Off Gel for the toughest job. This is a serious chemical but is safe on fiberglass, as long as you follow the precautions. Check out these before-and-after photos.

Spring Sailboat Commissioning and Prep Checklist
In areas where sailboats are hauled out and stored for the winter, it is important to commission the boat properly in the spring before launch. Here’s a complete checklist of everything that needs to be done.

Winterize Your Boat
Winterizing a sailboat involves preparing the engine for winter, removing or protecting gear, and winterizing the head and water systems before covering the boat. You can expect serious problems when the temperature drops below freezing if you fail to correctly winterize all systems.

Sail Slug Lubricants
On many sailboats, the luff of the mainsail fastens to the mast via sail slugs that slide up and down in a groove in the mast. Over time, wear and tear or other factors may make it difficult to hoist or drop the mainsail. A very inexpensive lubricant may be the best solution and work as well as expensive equipment alterations.

How to Whip a Line End
The end of a line (rope) on a sailboat should be whipped to prevent unraveling and fraying at the end. Whipping is the best and most long-lasting method for preventing problems.

Best Book for Complete Sailboat Maintenance
Boat owners who do their own maintenance need a lot of technical information to repair and maintain the boat and all its systems and equipment. Here’s the classic one you can’t afford not to have: Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual. At 900 pages, it can’t you absolutely everything you’ll ever need to know, but it comes closer than any other.

Winterizing a Marine Diesel Engine
Here’s a collection of how-to articles detailing how to prepare your diesel for freezing temperatures and lay-up, including winterizing the cooling system, choosing the right antifreeze, bleeding the fuel system, and starting up again in the spring.

Restoring Gelcoat on an Aging Boat
Learn how to improve the appearance of your fiberglass topsides by removing oxidation from gelcoat.

How to Shrink Wrap Your Boat
Shrink wrapping is a great way to protect your boat outdoors in the winter, but commercial shrink wrapping is very expensive. Learn to shrink wrap your own sailboat yourself and save a bundle!

7 Ways to Save Money Buying Boat Gear
Maintaining your sailboat often involves buying boat gear. Here are some tips for less expensive ways to get the gear you need.

Review of Tiny-Tach Replacement Tachometer for Diesel Marine Engines
The tachometer of a marine engine frequently fails, requiring an expensive replacement part and sometimes complicated installation. The Tiny-Tach tachometer is a less expensive replacement tach that installs flexibly and easily - but watch out for a possible downside. Read the review of the Tiny-Tach here.

Review of the Suncor Lifeline Kit for Sailboats
On many aging sailboats the lifelines should be replaced to ensure they are strong and safe in case you have to grab one to stay on the boat. The Suncor lifeline kit makes it easy to replace old corroding lifelines on your own. Read the full review here.

Sewing Marine Canvas - Review of the Speedy Stitcher
Sailboat owners often have to repair or stitch up marine canvas, including sails, dodgers, and sail covers. This is often a slow, tedious task. Learn how to use the Speedy Stitcher to make sewing marine canvas easy.

How to Make Your Own Sailboat Gaskets
Boaters often need or want to make their own gaskets for a boat's engine or other needs. Here's the easy process for how to do it yourself.

How to Change a Boat Engine's Oil
Save money by changing the oil of your boat's marine engine, using an inexpensive oil extractor. Works also for transmission fluid and other engine fluids. Here are the best models and how to use.

Choosing Bottom Paint for Your Boat
One of the responsibilities of many boat owners is the yearly ritual of painting the bottom, needed for any boat that stays in the water. Learn about the different types of bottom paint and get some tips for getting efficiently through the painting process.

Checklist for Boat Trailer Maintenance
Here's a helpful checklist to help ensure you maintain your boat's trailer well to keep it running for years and ensure your own safety when towing.

Review of Starbrite Dip-It Whip-It Liquid Rope Whipping
A cut end of line or rope must be finished to prevent fraying and unraveling. Some boaters like to dip the end of the line in liquid whipping. Read the review here to learn whether this is the best method for your needs.

How to Repair Sunbrella
Avoid the high costs of professional repairs to your boat's canvas or Sunbrella by making the repair yourself using a special fabric adhesive rather than sewing.

How to Repair Damaged Wood with Epoxy Putty
Damaged wood on a boat generally needs to be repaired with a waterproof product such as an epoxy putty. See the process steps here and a review of an epoxy putty product.

Review of Starbrite Bird (Droppings) and Spider Stain Remover
This Starbrite product does help clean up bird droppings, but don't expect miracles. Read this review to see when and how to use it.

Test and Review of 303 High Tech Fabric Guard for Boat Canvas and Sunbrella
303 is a useful product for boat owners and can make many kinds of boat canvas and fabric water repellent. Read the review to see if it will help protect your boat.

Do It Yourself Boat Trailer Tongue Extension
It's easy and inexpensive to make your own trailer tongue extension. That makes it easier to launch and retrieve your boat at even shallow boat ramps without getting the rear of your vehicle in the water.

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