As far as maintenance goes, it is as important to look after your vessel during the off season as it is in the on season. Here are a few tips from our Marine Service Manager Andrew Cruikshank to keep your boat in top condition during periods of inactivity.
The number one rule. A clean boat is a happy boat. Starting with the topsides and superstructure, it is always advisable to keep them polished and waxed after a good wash. This will protect the gel coat. It is also the best time of year to do it. It is cooler during the day so the substrate is not as hot as what summer dishes out.
Engines and Fuel System.
Keep your engine clean inside and out. It is a good time to flush water through the cooling system and put new coolant in. Change the oil whilst your there. Check with the manufacturers recommendations on the correct procedures.
The fuel system is also important. It is best to press up the fuel within 10% of capacity. This allows for expansion and reduces condensation that can appear in an empty tank. Fuel stabilisers available to keep the fuel and system clean during storage. Change the filter at the end of the season.
This really applies to the little things. Have a good look around the boat and check all of the metal fittings including hinges, latches, bolts and handles and give them a protective coating. If you’re in the world of sailing, deck and rig equipment requires a lot of attention. This also goes for the bigger fittings such as winches and stern drives. This will help with nasties like corrosion. Left unchecked, it can be detrimental to the lifespan of all types of fittings. Given that all skin fittings protruding through the hull are made of metal, it is important to service these fittings (and any other through hull fitting).
I can’t begin to tell you how many boats I have seen in the off season with mould littered throughout the boat due to dirty, wet bilges. Give them a clean! Then remove all of the moisture. Especially if it is going to be stored for a long period of time. Yes I know it can be a dirty job, but a wet mouldy boat is worse. And like I said earlier, a clean boat is a happy boat.
Rig Checks, Winches and Sails
Corrosion. A sailing boat nightmare. It doesn’t sleep and it is relentless. That is why it is a good idea to check over all of the blocks and clutches, winches and deck hardware. If you are not sure how to do it, give us a call at White Bay 6 and we can have it professionally done for you. The mast and boom need to be checked, especially where any stainless steel meets aluminium. And check anywhere where there are rivets. Moisture sits behind the heads of rivets and corrodes the substrate.
Arguably the part of the boat that requires the most attention. There are different types of boat toilets with very different maintenance issues, however there are a few universal checks that can be carried out.
If the head is not going to be used, it is important to empty the holding tank at a registered facility such as White Bay 6/Bailey’s Marine Fuels Australia, and then flush fresh water (or salt water if it is a salt water toilet) through the system. Please, please don’t use heavy chemicals like Drano. It breaks down components in the pumps and tanks, and also turns the sanitary hose brittle. It is also a good time to replace any hose that has perished. The sanitary hose should be a bright colour (such as white) with good bending capability. If it has gone brown and brittle, it’s time for some new hose! And it will also alleviate any odours that come from older toilet systems.
So, you have used your boat over the warmer months and now it is time to pull it out of the water for an antifoul. Here at White Bay 6 we can certainly help you out. If you are unsure you could always book in a survey lift, check out what’s been going on under the water and then make a decision. It is very important to check it at least once a year. Especially if you have stern drives. There are quite a few moving parts under the water which require attention so please keep on top of it to prevent major damage and costs. And if you need help, just call. We are happy to help you out.