In addition to the above advice, wash out the salt
after each use, if possible. Open the cover and look inside, become familiar with all those parts
so you can detect changes over time, such as greasing things that have grease, wiping things that get salty, looking for the stream of water
that the water pump may expel. Check, every time, that the mounting screws are secure, that the vent to the tank is open, and that the tank has enough fuel. Look at the prop: is it dinged? If so, repair it or replace it. Do you have spare cotter pins and shear pins? Do you have a minimal bag of tools to fix something simple? Is the motor
locked to the boat? Have you got oars that work? Do you have a small bucket with a couple feet of chain, a hundred feet or so of light line and a small grapnel or other anchor
? How about a small box or bag with flares, a flashlight, and a bottle of water? And while you are loading this bag, how about a cell phone
handheld? Sometimes things don't go as we hope. The engine conks out, the tide is running out, the weather
turns, and the sun begins to go down. It's nice to have options.