Boat Care 101

About the author

Brandon Card

Brandon Card

Tennessee’s Brandon Card, who competed for the University of Kentucky, is the first Bassmaster College Series angler to qualify for the Elite Series.

I have had my boat for over seven years, and it still looks and runs really good. I will be selling my boat after I get my Triton in February, and I know the person that buys it will be getting a really good boat because I have taken great care of it. Below are a few inexpensive ways that you can show your boat some love.

Boat Cover

The first step in protecting your boat is a boat cover. It is essential to keeping your boat in good condition. Boat covers shield your boat from the sun’s dangerous rays, prevent rain and snow damage, and deter thieves.

My EmpireCovers boat cover has really helped keep my boat out of the harsh elements this fall and winter, as we have had more rain than I can ever remember. It is really strong and durable, and it holds up great in the rain and snow. Having a good boat cover is crucial to resale value when storing a boat outside like I do.

My brother also stores his boat outside and recently told me that his boat cover has started to dry rot and rip to shreds. He said he wanted to get a cover like mine, but didn’t think that he could afford it because he thought he would have to pay more for the quality. He was pleasantly surprised when I told him that an EmpireCovers boat cover for his boat would only cost $200 (much cheaper than other covers).

Protect the Hull

Hull protection is a must for fiberglass bass boats. The keel of the hull will take a beating from concrete ramps, rocky banks, and various other shallow water hazards. Keelshield is the only way to go. It is an adhesive shield that sticks directly to the keel and is really easy to install. It comes in a variety of colors, so it will match any color of hull. I speak from experience when I say that you have to get this. I didn’t have one on my previous boat and my fiberglass was cracked and chipped everywhere. It looked like a beaver had a heyday on the bottom of that boat. For just under $200, this is a must have.

Protect the Engine 

After seven years of use and over 750 hours logged, my engine still runs great. Like most people, I do the regular maintenance every year like spark plugs and lower unit oil. But two things that I think matter more than that are how hard the engine runs and keeping the ethanol out of gas. I try to only run my engine at full throttle during tournament situations. 4000 to 4500 rpm is the prime cruising range when I am practicing or fun fishing. Fuel economy will be the best in this range, and the engine will not have to work very hard. If it is not working hard, it will last longer.

Ethanol is detrimental to outboard engines, and there is an easy fix out there. I have been adding fuel treatments to my gas since the whole ethanol scare started, and I haven’t had a problem. BioborEB is an ethanol treatment that stabilizes the ethanol/gasoline mixture and also prevents corrosion and wear. $20 a bottle treats 240 gallons and is a pretty fair bargain to prolong the life of an engine. 

Remember these inexpensive ways to care for your boat, and your boat will spend less time in the shop and more time in the water. More time on the water is what we are all after. You can’t catch them unless you are out there!

Remember to chase your dreams!

Originally published fall 2013

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