Boat Maintenance – Boat
When it's time to dry dock, the best thing to do is get your boat off the water and under a cover. A climate-controlled area is ideal but if not then another good option is to shrink-wrap it to protect it against the elements.
Check for Corrosion and Cracks
To protect against the effects of corrosion on anything metal on your boat or trailer, it's important to use a rust preventative coating to create a protective barrier against water and moisture in the air. Waterproof grease is important in protecting the wheel bearings on trailers but is also useful in ensuring gears, screws, nuts and other connections function after the storage period.
Check for any cracks or scratches on the vessel. If it there is just light scuff marks, use a glaze such as the 3M 05824 Flowable Finish Glaze over the area. Sand properly cleaned surfaces with a grade 80-180 laminate abrasive before applying the glaze and then sand with a 150-320 grit abrasive to desired shape.
Anything that's gone through the gel coat can be a much more serious matter such as a lack of rigidity in the underlying laminate and this should be handled by a professional boat repairer.
|Marine Waterproof Grease
||Marine Rust Preventative Coating
If you’re using a hydraulic steering system, check the hydraulic levels as this is important for providing control to the direction of the steering system. If you own an Ultraflex system, inspect the oil levels in either the steering hub or power unit and then pour the appropriate amount of Hydraulic Oil in via the helm or cylinder nipples or by using a Remote Filler Kit.
If you're using a mechanical system, the steering cable end fittings and engine cable support should be cleaned and lubricated with grease once a year if used primarily in freshwater or two if sea water. After this has been done, test the performance of it by turning the steering wheel from left to right, making sure you have free flowing lock-to-lock turns.
|Hydraulic Steering System Oil
||Ultraflex Remote Filler Kit
Bungs and drainage areas should be checked regularly to avoid water build up on the vessel. If you need to replace the bung, make sure you know the correct cut-out size that is the hole made in the boat to accommodate the bung.
If you're just replacing a plug, check to see if it's a fine or coarse thread as they need to be match to ensure a tight connection together. Self-bailer bungs are also available which don't require unplugging and allow for water to exit via a narrow one-way slit opening.
|Bung and Base with Fine Thread
||Self-Bailer with Coarse Thread
An LPG system is specialised and needs a separate rigorous safety and component check. Your LPG service should be carried out regularly, usually 20,000km or every 12 months.
Any tears or breaks in the hose line means a replacement is needed, as is the case with any hose clamps that have begun to rust. To prevent this from happening, it's important to go with a stainless steel hose clamp, preferably 304 grade or higher such as marine-grade 316 stainless steel.
|Hose Clamp 304 Grade Stainless Steel
||Hose Clamp 316 Grade Stainless Steel
A well-maintained boat propeller will help keep your boat fuel-efficient, easy to steer and safe for passengers.
It's important to check for any damage to the propeller blade and hub at the end of the season, be it light scratches or heavier damage like bends in the propeller blades that can cause increased vibration when the boat is in motion.
Thrusters are a little easier to maintain and should only need to be checked once a year by removing and checking the motor to ensure the brushes inside move freely and aren't worn too far. When being put back in, an added layer of grease should be applied to the components before carefully tightening the bolts back up.
|Quick Double Propeller Bow Thruster
||Bow Thruster Anodes
Periodic bilge cleaning is important for older vessels where build-up from oil or other materials can create a build-up of sludge which inhibit the pump's performance.
Make sure all pumps, float switches and strainers are easily accessible and that each is firmly mounted. Remove, disassemble and inspect pumps at least twice a year for broken or worn parts. Not only is this good preventative maintenance, it also familiarises you with pump disassembly and reassembly before a problem occurs.
As per the Shipping Registration Act 1981 and Shipping Registration Regulations 1981, boat owners of registered ships must inform the Registrar:
- If you intend to change the name or home port of your ship
- Of any change in the name or address of the owner or registered agent
- If the ship or a share in the ship is sold
- If any alterations are made to the ship
- If the Registration Certificate is lost or destroyed
- If the ship is lost or destroyed
Heavy penalties apply for non-compliance, including fines and possible prison sentences so make sure to keep on top of your details if anything changes.
That's all for now, stay tuned for our next blog post discussing all the ins and outs of properly maintain and servicing safety equipment for storage and use during the winter months.