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Upgrading your motorboat: 10 tips for motorboat owners

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I present 10 suggestions to get more out of your motorboat. The important thing is that it should go quickly and not cost a lot.

There are an infinite number of inexpensive ways to spice up your motorboat and the associated quality of experience. Starting with the time you could take to label the cabling (honestly, that gives you a great feeling) to wallpapering the seat upholstery with new fabric or simply adding new flares, life jackets, electronics or cordage to the safety equipment: Everything helps the state of mind when you throw off the lines for the new season on the first halfway sensible day of spring. If you are a half-idiot at tinkering like me, you should find the following 10 simple tips for sprucing up your motorboat particularly interesting.

Wakeboard Tower

Retrofitting your boat with such a tower is easier and cheaper (from around 750 euros) than you might think. A universal tower, such as that from Monster Towers, fits almost every boat. You can also opt for a custom-made product, of course there is, but why should the fun stop there? When the thing is up, board racks, a bimini top, loudspeakers, video cameras or remote-controlled spotlights can be installed and a lot more that inspires the imagination. This increases the versatility of your vehicle and, if done correctly, improves its looks and value.

Wakeboard Tower
Wakeboard Tower

Keel tape

Hitting a remote beach for a picnic is one of the greatest joys of a waterfront excursion. Even better if you don’t have to worry about damaging the hull. Over time, deep scratches in the gelcoat can allow water to penetrate the laminate, which is why it is advisable to invest in a keel protector that runs at least a little way up the bow. Of course they still have to do the housework and find out about the tidal range, currents, incline, beach conditions, etc., but stainless steel tape, glue or, if necessary, screws, which together cost little more than a handful of change, bring many advantages for little Money.

Camping canopy

A camper hood could be one of the best boat investments you will ever make. Whether you stretch it over the aft cockpit, the bow cockpit (if available) or both, there is hardly a type of boat that would not benefit from it. I fell in love with a hood like this a while ago when I first used it on a RIB, and in the meantime this idea has caught on. Even someone like the former motorboat world champion Neil Holmes had such a camping cover made for the bow of his narrow 70 knot racing RIB, giving this speed machine a usable slip cabin in no time – and all for less than 1500 euros.

Camping canopy
Camping canopy

Cooling box

That might not sound like a great upgrade, but a really good cool box with an externally padded lid improves life on board in several ways. It’s really simple: mooring straps that hold the thing on deck, wheels and telescopic handles so that you can pull it ashore like a piece of luggage, plus bilge holes that are easy to open or close, sturdy handles and a good guarantee, and you have an item of equipment on board, the usability of which puts the price in the shade. A cool box is versatile and is also ideal as additional seating furniture on board, as a provisions storage space, boarding aid, board bar, fish box or as a waterproof shelf (e.g. for cameras) or as a portable seat for a picnic on the beach.

Electric outboard

An auxiliary engine is an important safety consideration for boat trips. If your boat is of moderate size and weight, you could say goodbye to internal combustion engines and opt for an electric model such as decide on a Torqeedo product. Imagine no longer having to lug around a “compact” gasoline outboard that weighs about as much as a small horse. Imagine no more bruising on your shoulder or feeling no more engine oil trickling down your hump when trying to pick up an engine like this. Sure, electric costs and not too scarce, but these things are ingeniously light, clean, relatively quiet and really handy. And because they are easy to carry, you can take them off and take them home, where they are safe from theft.

Electric outboard
Electric outboard

Shock-absorbing seats

If you want to allow your back and bones to be more comfortable at sea, you have a few options. There are seats with adjustable travel to absorb vertical impacts. Then there are entire control consoles with seats and a driver’s cab that help avoid even the toughest impact. And if you want to stand on soft ground, Wolf Shock can buy deck coverings that have air pockets in a hypalon-like fabric, which can then be covered with Treadmaster, Flexiteak or other surfaces. The disadvantage? The price. Shock-absorbing seats or floors are more for the well-to-do.

Neatly laid electrics

In addition to an empty tank, electrical problems are by far the most common cause of breakdowns at sea. The smaller and faster the boat, the more likely this is because it often has to absorb hard impacts, which can lead to water ingress. The answer would be pretty simple: replace worn cables with new ones, then route them with protective tubing and cable ties, and then use waterproof shrink tubing connectors wherever a permanent connection is needed. This is by no means expensive and it finally gives you the opportunity to label the darned cables correctly, and that should only have a positive effect on future electrical projects.

Neatly laid electrics
Neatly laid electrics

Small toilets, fine toilets

You don’t need palatial rooms to build in an on-board toilet. If your vehicle is more than 6 meters long and possibly also has a slip cabin in the bow, possibly even with a discreet fabric curtain, there is not much in the way of retrofitting a portapotti. It can be placed under the bench or under the companionway steps, which you could use to convince your family that a day at the water does not have to be a logistical dilemma.

Upgrading the propeller

Finding the right prop can sometimes seem like black magic, this is how complex the selection process is. It’s true, every type of propeller has qualities that may not be of much use to your boat or that may not suit the engine or intended use. Therefore the search for the right combination of diameter, pitch and number of blades can often follow the trial and error principle. But as a rule of thumb, aluminum propellers are cheap, soft and inefficient, while those made of steel are stiff, sexy and fast. If you are satisfied with your aluminum prop, why not buy a steel propeller. You will find out how much better your boat can be.

Upgraded propeller
Upgraded propeller

Clean hull

Finally, something simple: a planing hull loses 45 percent of its speed and efficiency if it has a beard made of mussels and algae. Do yourself a favor and polish your boat hull to a shine before you break up with the water berth and park the boat in your garage. Or you can set it up in a drystack hall, which is becoming more and more popular because there boats are simply parked in and out of the park by forklifts in dry and safe shelves and such systems also have steam jets. This guarantees carefree everyday boating, optimal hull performance and sometimes a better resale value. All in all: not a bad thing.

Can you think of anything else that you can improve on your boat for little money? Then please write it in the comments 😉

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