Boats, more than any other form of transportation, suffer hugely from wear and tear. This is because of their exposure to extreme weather even when they are moored at a pier. Care and maintenance are important in prolonging your boat's service life.
Here are some basic-but-important tips to help you keep your boat in good working condition:
Keep a comprehensive checklist
Inspection should be done on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Some components, such as cables, antennae, and electronic navigation equipment, only need to be checked annually for corrosion; but engines, batteries, and gear boxes should be inspected every time before you head off to open waters.
With so many things you need to check and several checkup schedules to keep track of, it's easy to forget something - and you never know whether that something you forget could be the one that causes trouble for you in the middle of the sea.
To make sure you don't overlook anything, you need to have a comprehensive checklist. You can easily get one from the Internet. Or if you have found a trustworthy mechanic, he could provide you with a list to make your maintenance routine more effective.
Moor and winterize properly
Few boat owners know that scratches are often caused by improper boat mooring. These scratches, while small, can easily lead to more serious damage.
To avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your boat's hull, make sure the mooring line is securely attached to the bollard. Also, knowing the conditions of the pier (susceptible to extreme tidal flows, exposed to strong currents) before docking could help you prevent scratches on your boat.
Once scratches have appeared, a paint job is in order. This would prevent rust from eating away at the hull.
Winterization refers to the preparation of your boat for very cold conditions. You might need to take your boat out of the water and store it in a climate-controlled environment.
Another method is to sail your yacht to warmer harbours, where seawater never freezes.
Maintain your bilge pump and boat engine
Boats sink primarily because the hull has been overwhelmed with water. To ensure that water is efficiently taken out of the hull, you need to make sure that your bilge pump is functioning properly at all times. Do proper maintenance checks and tune ups on it, especially when you take your boat on distant journeys.
As for the boat engine, its fuel tanks, lines and clamps should be inspected for corrosion. Salt water easily damages metals, so routine checks must be undertaken. The engine's cooling system should not only work properly, it should also supply the correct data to the ship captain.
These steps can help prevent many - but not all - unforeseen disasters. For those things that you simply cannot foresee or prevent, it helps to have marine insurance. This will give you peace of mind in times of safety, and it will be the helping hand you need most sorely when unforeseen disasters strike.
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