Servicing Your Boat
A boat is a major asset and keeping it in good working order is not only best practice but can be critical when it comes to the safety of yourself, your passengers and your crew. Whether power or sail, there are a range of servicing requirements on all boats that you should be aware of.
Attending to routine servicing and maintenance, preferably by a qualified marine engineer, electrical engineer, service technician and/or shipwright is an essential part of owning a boat.
If purchasing a new boat, check with the dealer on what servicing is included with the purchase. As with cars, many manufacturers will cover a certain amount of time in their warranties. Also check if you are compelled to return to their service facilities or if you can select the repairer of your choice. This can be especially important if your home port is quite a distance from the manufacturer’s service centre or if they charge comparatively high costs.
If purchasing a used boat from a private seller, ask which marine engineer or shipwright has been servicing and carrying out repairs on the boat. Having someone work on the boat who already knows its history and what work has been done previously, can be an advantage.
Routine Maintenance and Care
- Wash down your boat after each excursion. Hose off all the saltwater, paying particular attention to the motor and metallic coverings. Avoiding corrosion will save you costs in the future.
- Routine antifouling of the hull is advisable. Have your shipwright put your boat on the hardstand and remove any dirt and other build-up of environmental matter. Having a clean hull will give you better performance through the water and better fuel efficiency.
- If you don’t want the expense of paying to put it up on the hardstand or slipway, don a wetsuit and scuba gear and do it yourself. There are businesses that specialise in boat cleaning.
- If fishing is your thing, make sure you remove all bait and other rubbish at the end of each trip. You certainly don’t want to return to rotting bait!
- If you don’t use your boat much in winter, booking in for a pre-season check-up with an authorised marine engineer is advisable.
- Check batteries and all the electronics regularly to ensure they are working at optimal levels.
- Check safety equipment! Regularly open and check all life vests to ensure they are in good condition and remember to check emergency devices such as beacons and flares are not expired.
- Motors and engines will require regular servicing usually based on the number of operating hours.
- Keep an eye on the upholstery and covers and have any rips and tears repaired as quickly as possible to ensure they remain weather-tight and protective.
- Maintain toilets and bilge pumps properly, according the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Ensure gas bottles are secure and safe with all connections and attachments in working order.
- If you own a trailer boat, don’t forget having your trailer serviced also.
Caring for your boat will extend its life, give you more enjoyable boating and better protect its value when you are ready to upgrade. Start the process as soon as you take delivery and make it a habit not an exception.