If you own a yacht, we’re sure you are aware of how much they cost! Maintaining your boat is not only a good idea for safety purposes, but it will also increase the boat’s longevity.
There is a wide variety of things you can do to make sure your boat stays in tip-top condition. Some things can be done daily, weekly, monthly and even once a year.
We are going to break these tasks down into 5 areas;
- Sails & rigging
- Crew safety
The engine is something that really requires a lot of care and attention. Whilst other things can be left for a while, the engine really is something that should be checked daily. Don’t worry about this being a time-consuming thing. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you will be able to carry out daily checks in no time at all.
The daily checks on your engine should consist of:
- Visually inspect both the engine and the engine room
- Checking the engine oil level
- Checking the belt tension
- Visually inspect pulleys & check the alignment
- Check the transmission fluid level
- Make sure the alternator and water pump belts are tight
- Check the coolant and antifreeze levels
That’s about it daily check wise. You may find there are a few other things you may wish to check but this is a good start to cover your bases.
Now you have completed your daily checks, it’s time to move onto the monthly checks. These consist of:
- Check the engine oil level
- Check transmission fluid level
- Change both the engine’s oil and filter
- Check levels of coolant and antifreeze and top up if needed
- Inspect the raw water strainer, pump and impeller
- Inspect and clean the thru-hull
- Flush and clean the syphon break
- Inspect and if necessary change the heat exchanger anodes
Again, these are just some of the basics that we recommend you do. If you want to add more to your list then please do.
Lastly, there are the yearly checks. We recommend doing everything that you do on the daily but also a few more:
- Change over the primary and secondary fuel filters
- Check on the diesel tank(s) for any damage or contamination
- Bleed the fuel system
- Inspect and repair any bodywork or damage to maintain proper insulation
- Test your batteries
- Inspect all wires, nuts and bolts are all in good working order
- Inspect the propeller and shaft
Unless your yacht has suffered a collision or something similar, you may not notice damage to your boat straight away. We recommend you do a few things at least once a month (but ideally more) as well as a few yearly things to do to make sure it stays in tip-top condition:
- Inspect your hull, keel and rudder for damage and make arrangments for them to be fixed asap
- Treat scratches or rusting from your bodywork using a rust inhibitor and gelcoat restorer
- Inspect your deck to make sure there is no damage to the wood
- Clean and finish your deck if the previous coating is no longer working as it should
For keeping your boat’s gelcoat looking bright and new, you could use a product such as Gelcoat and Surface Restorer. It is a saturating product that penetrates deep into the surface to rewet the pigments that have become dry, reviving the original colour and shine.
You can also use Marine Oil as a rust inhibitor to protect against rust/further rusting on all your metal surfaces.
Again, for the annual checks, we would recommend you do everything that you did in your monthly checks, but you will also need to remove the boat from the water. Most people will do this over the winter months as they will likely be using the boat less, if at all.
Although this can be a costly thing to do, it really is worth doing as you will be able to get a clear picture of the entire hull’s condition and make arrangements to get anything fixed. You will also want to carry out yearly anti-fouling and any re-painting or zinc replacement.
There are many companies that will both remove the boat and carry out all safety checks for you. It can be expensive, so be sure to shop around and make sure you are getting the full service.
When it comes to your electrics, we recommend checking a few things every month:
- Check all your wires are safely and neatly secured
- Inspect wire casings are intact and fix if necessary
- Make sure wire connections are safe and sound
- Make sure any wires are dry and exposed to as little moisture as possible
- Check your fuses and breakers
- Inspect batteries to see if they are in good condition
- Make sure your batteries are clean and dry
- Test batteries are working optimally
- Top up with distilled water if necessary
Sails & Rigging
Checking on your sails and rigging should be checked on every month or so:
- Check the shroud and cotter pins are all in place and in good condition
- Ensure the turnbuckles and pelican hooks on the lifeline are in good condition
- Inspect to see if there is any chaffing where the headsail sheets attach to the clew as well as the traveller and boom vang.
- Inspect to see if there is any wear on the mainsail
- Replace any worn lines asap
- Routinely check your sails for any damage or mould and mend as appropriate
- Remove the sails at least once a year and give them a deep clean with a product such as Owasail
For the safety of everyone on board, we recommend both daily checks before departure as well as monthly checks:
- Floatation devices are on board and in good working condition
- First aid kit is fully stocked
- Make sure flares are onboard
As well as these checks, we also recommend the following once a month:
- Make sure that both the first aid kit and flares are both in date
- Check that the fire extinguishers are in all in their designated areas and have been inspected by a professional with updated tags
- Inspect lifelines and rails and make sure they are in good, safe working condition
- Check the stove and any other large piece of electrical equipment is in safe working order
- Test the fire alarms and any other types of alarms on board
Again, these are the basics that we recommend you check to not only keep your boat in good working condition but to keep you and everyone else on the water safe.
For more information, take a look at our recommended products for boat maintenance here.
We hope you found this post helpful. If you have any other tips or advice, feel free to leave them down below. We love hearing from you!