Related Topics

Table of Contents

4 Signs It’s Time To Sell and Upgrade Your Boat

6 Ways America’s Outdoor Recreation Act Could Improve Boating

Unexpected Maintenance Costs and How to Avoid Them

Unexpected Maintenance Costs and how to avoid them

When you bought your boat, you envisioned the sun, water, maybe some skiing, definitely some fishing, and boating seasons full of memories. What you probably didn’t envision are some of the unexpected maintenance costs that come with owning a boat. The engine won’t turn over, the steering has seized up, or—worse—your boat starts taking on water. All of these unexpected costs can ruin any boater’s day, but it doesn’t have to be that way. While you won’t always be able to escape unexpected repairs and costs, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of money you’re spending onshore instead of setting out to sea.

Unexpected Repairs

No one likes to head out on the water and find themselves stranded. It’s not as if you’re able to pull over on the side of the road and start walking like you would if you were in a car. To be stranded out on the water is something every boater fears and wants to prevent.

Electrical System

Being stranded due to an electrical problem can definitely be a cause for worry. Today’s boats are just as sophisticated and as “smart” as our phones or cars. That means they rely heavily on complex circuitry that can operate everything from your dash panels to your navigation system. Unless you’re skilled in troubleshooting electrical and wiring problems, there’s no way to know for sure what’s wrong. In order to avoid electrical problems, routinely check your wiring. You’ll want to look for exposed wires, wires that have cracks in the protective coating, or wires that aren’t properly grounded or waterproofed.


Steering, shifting, or losing power can take the wind out of your sails, not to mention make it difficult to get back to shore. While some mechanical issues may be easily fixable, they may also have multiple causes. Before leaving the marina, run through your engine checklist. Ensure fuses are in good working condition, all of the necessary fluids are topped off, and hoses and belts are in good condition. Check for cracks or splits in belts and hoses. Oftentimes it’s these simple to overlook things that cause the most problems. By taking the necessary time to properly perform a pre-ride inspection, you can save a lot of headaches and money later on.

Dead in the Water

It’s been a fun day of fishing, swimming, and making priceless memories and now it’s time to pull up the anchor and head home. But as you start the engine, nothing happens, trying again and you hear “click, click.” We hate to say it, but your boat’s battery might be dead. 

Dead batteries happen, and when they do, you could be in trouble. Roughly 50 percent of calls marine rescue services receive are due to a dead battery. There are a number of causes for a dead battery that doesn’t include failure to properly charge the battery but we’re going to ask anyway. Is the battery fully charged? You can dodge most battery problems before you even head out by testing the battery to make sure it’s fully charged and bringing along a backup battery of the same type, just in case. However, carrying a spare isn’t the only way to evade an unexpected battery issue. Thorough and regular boat cleaning is one sure-fire way to catch a problem before it starts.

Unforeseen Damage

Repairs are only one part of the unexpected maintenance costs you might encounter. Left unchecked or postponed, minor repairs can turn into major damages. If you know or suspect, there is a problem with one of your boat’s mechanical or electrical systems, and you don’t deal with it immediately, you may be looking at extensive costs to repair or replace various systems.

Get to Know Your Boat

Many people buy boats without fully understanding how to properly care for them. A boater who doesn’t take the time to learn everything they can about their boat’s body, build, and systems, definitely won’t know what to do when a problem arises. Any kind of damage to the boat’s body, props, or rudder, can create additional unforeseen problems. Be sure to address dents, scratches, or cracks before they worsen.

For instance, you may notice a slight crack or wear in the boat’s hull. If left unattended the slight crack can become a hole and create a leak. Which would you rather deal with? A slight crack or a boat that’s taking on water due to a large hole? Taking the time to carefully look over your boat for any damage will save you money in the long run. 

Keep Your Eyes on the Road…Err, Water

Distracted driving of any kind, be it on land or on water, can lead to serious damage. It’s important to not only stay alert while at the helm but to also pay close attention to what’s going on around you at all times. When we allow ourselves to become distracted while navigating the boat is when accidents such as running aground or striking an object, tend to occur. These kinds of accidents are not only costly but dangerous.

Conclusion: By and large many unexpected maintenance costs can be averted by simply caring for the boat and properly servicing it regularly. Being proactive in your boat’s upkeep can protect against damages, unplanned repairs, and keep you out of potentially dangerous situations. Here at Boatline, we understand that sometimes things just happen, even to the most observant and diligent boater. You may not be able to prevent every break or every repair, but you can get ahead of the game by staying on top of your maintenance.


Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Other Resources

4 Signs It’s Time To Sell and Upgrade Your Boat

Boatline has put together four signs that signal when it’s time to sell and upgrade your boat.

6 Ways America’s Outdoor Recreation Act Could Improve Boating

America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2022 would get more boaters outside to have an adventure and enjoy nature.

6 of the Best Restaurants You Can Boat To

There are several great waterfront restaurants around the country that let you dock, dine out with delicious food, and take in a nice view.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *