For the do it yourself boaters these blogs are for you! Summer is quickly advancing and the waters around South Florida are turning optimal for cruising, diving, fishing, snorkeling and all the other outstanding amenities these waters offer. So let’s get your vessel in top gear and condition for the fun. The next 4 blogs are aimed at informing and guiding you through 4 critical commissioning projects that will ensure your cruising is the smoothest.
Think Mechanical Maintenance 1st!
Consider a boats make up similiar to a human body. With out electricity we dont funtion and with out proper circulation we fail. So let’s look at these primary systems and perform a good inspection.
- Looking at the big picture by hauling the vessel out of the water is critical. Making sure to turn off all generators and a/c systems before hand to avoid the risk of burning them up as they gasp for water. Check the bottom making sure all the barnacles and growth is cleaned off.
Bottom zincs on your hull, drives, shafts and trim tabs need to be at least %50. Remember these zincs are your boats shields against electrolysis. When they expired the electricity from the salt water will start to eat away at your boats inner metal components. Beware!
- How do your propellers look? Even the smallest nick or bend will cause vibration issues and severely disturb performance speed, even barnacles and growth. I recommend removing the propellers and having them finished and balanced properly to achieve maximum rpm. Oh yeah grease the spline before installing to avoid unnecessary friction.
How are your batteries? Disconnect all batteries, clean them with soda water and a wire brush before reconnecting and checking them for optimal charge-batteries do need replacing periodically and if one is dead connecting to a series of batteries they all will be dead soon so pull and replace.
How does your steering system look? Check for drips or leaks and top off the lubricant. Check packing boxes to make sure there is no damage.
A/C systems servicing. In a constantly warm enviroment a/c many times never stop and often need re-pressurizing and raw water lines flushed with barnacle buster (green technology) to clear out growth.
Check all hose fittings, replacing the corroded ones with new ones. Lubricate all sea cock levers (raw water intake valves) exercise them back and forth. Make sure strainer baskets are clean and their housings are free of barnacles and growth.
- Make sure all main engine sea strainers are clear of growth and obstructions.
- Remember! Cooling water to your 2 vital mechanical systems (engine and air conditioning) is like blood circulation to your heart. By assuring unrestricted water flow you’ll be way cooler and cost effectiveness.
- Light Bulbs! Turn all lights on including Navigation Lights, checking for any burnt out bulbs and replace.
- Bilges are Key! Before I buy a boat I check here 1st and foremost because you can quickly learn a vessels mechanical health by residue found. Trace any leaks back to their culprit and replace seals where necessary. Remove any water, sludge or oil from the bilge (dispose of properly in a hazardous waste area) clean with degrease the bilge and make sure all bilge pumps are running properly and not gummed up. Don’t hesitate to replace a bilge pump as they do expire and are well worth the piece of mind when all else fails.
- Sump boxes clean up well with water and bleach, let it sit for a few hours.
- Dump your fresh water tank and refill, I never recommend drinking water from your fresh water tank as it is never fresh, many times treating the tank with a bromine tablet is good to keep growth and that egg smell away.
- Dump your black water tank and treat with a eco friendly solution that will keep the smell fresh and bacteria down.
- Changing your engine oil is key and the best way to preserve the life of your engine, run the engine a few minutes before dumping the pan to lower the oil viscosity. Also rub oil on the filter gasket, this will allow it to seat better, check for leaks while it’s running.
- Service your generator if needed, replacing oil and all filters to assure your getting electricity when out island. I’ve found not having electricity and hot water at sea severely compromises the relationship with my girlfriend.
More to come…stand bye