Keep Your Boat in Ship Shape this Summer
You've pulled the tarp, painted the bottom and checked the expiration date on the flares. We just know you remembered the garboard drain plug. Before you splash the boat, you'll give it a good once-over to make sure all systems are go. Preventive maintenance is the best insurance - and a key to boating enjoyment.
There are a gajillion things that could go wrong aboard a boat. A small runabout or trailered fishing boat may have 10 separate DC electrical circuits, pumps for the bilge, head and washdown, dozens of fittings, and many hundreds of fasteners like nuts, bolts, screws and clamps. Aboard a large cruiser or sportfisherman, the systems are exponentially larger, and in fact more complex than those of a house, what with dual-voltage electrical systems and at least two sources of fresh water.
Barring the rare superboater who's a certified mechanic, fiberglass technician and American Boat and Yacht Council-rated electrician rolled into one, most of us can't find or fix everything.
You may not have a lot of technical expertise, and you may not even be very handy. But if you're lacking a shed full of tools and diagnostic equipment, here are 10 simple checks even novice boaters can perform. And for you old salts, we think this serves as a good reminder.
Seeing Is Believing: Not everything that looks bad is bad. For instance, some corrosion is normal. Develop your diagnostic vision with these checks.
1. Shafts should be centered in their bearings. Check the stuffing box as well as at the struts. Remember that a minor misalignment at the bearings is multiplied by the length of the shaft.
2. Again Replace sacrificial anodes if they have lost half their weight - not just size. A full-size anode that looks like Swiss cheese has got to go. Don't paint them, and make sure they are fastened tight.
3. All gasketed surfaces are suspect. Eyeball your engine's mating surfaces for signs of drips, rust stains, weepage and ridges of crud. Exhaust risers and head gaskets are especially important.
4. Even stainless fasteners corrode in a wet, oxygen-starved environment. It's called crevice corrosion. If you see streaks of rust emanating from fasteners or fittings, remove, replace and rebed with sealant. And find the cause of the wet core.
Look for dings or chips in gelcoat
- especially along leading edges like the stem, keel and chines. Repair using epoxy filler.
6. Inspection bowls for filters and sea strainers can turn cloudy, making them useless. You need to see at a glance what's going on. Clean them with soap and water. If clarity doesn't return, order replacements.
7. To ensure the engine room is sealing out water and spray, climb inside on a sunny day and close the hatch. You should see no light sneaking in around the perimeter. If you do, repair or replace the gaskets and latch.
8. Fogged, crazed and scratched plastic windshields and clear curtains hinder visibility, and thus safety. A fine compound can often restore clarity. Canvas shops replace clear sections, retaining an existing top.
9. Squeeze hoses. Those that are soft and mushy (as well as cracked, checked, discolored or shedding) can collapse under suction, starving the engine of cooling water, failing and flooding the boat, causing fuel leaks and more.
10. If a belt deflects too much under hand pressure between pulleys, either it needs replacement or the equipment needs to be repositioned and retightened, or both.
At Highport, our service staff is happy to take care of all your boat-servicing needs.
Call James Satterfield at 903-462-0727
to book your service appointment today.