4 easy hacks to keep your aluminum boat in tip-top shape

An aluminium fishing boat at the shore Photo by Amelia Martin/Shutterstock

Whether you call it a tinnie, a John boat, or a punt, here are a few key tips to getting the most out of your good ole’ aluminum boat.

Light protector
Add a layer of protection to your low-profile navigation lights with a U bolt around each one, like a rainbow.

Boat supporter
In lieu of a proper boat ramp, cottagers often haul their tinnie on shore and leave it upside down and off the ground. Rather than grabbing logs to support the boat, build two sturdy sawhorses to do the job, each half the height of a regular sawhorse and 6″ longer than your tinnie is wide. Slice a pool noodle in half, and secure each half to the top of a sawhorse to keep your gunwales from getting dinged up.

Leak finder
To locate the source of a slow, insidious leak, pull the boat ashore so that it’s upright and level. Fill it with water, up to the outside water line, and add food colouring to turn the water red. Let it sit for a day, then check underneath to spot the leak, marked with a telltale red stain.

Back saver
Hauling an outboard is gruelling. A store-bought motor dolly will save your back, but they’re often wildly expensive or too flimsy for the task. Instead, pick up a Mastercraft Mega Hand Truck from Canadian Tire. Hacksaw the horizontal metal supports off and the inner vertical ones down to fit a piece of 2×8 lumber bolted across the back. Bam! Custom-made motor mover.

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