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Maintenance of my boat: Some recommendations

Maintenance of the boat should be considered an investment, as it increases its value and prolongs its useful life. Regular and preventive maintenance of your boat is the key to safe sailing, to reduce the risk of damage and to avoid major breakdowns and, therefore, unexpected repairs. We share with you the 8 most important recommendations!

Below, we share with you the 8 most important recommendations:

1.聽聽聽 Constant checks while you are navigating

It is important to carry out certain checks while sailing, as there are certain elements that can only be checked while in operation. So, you should dedicate some time to check the different parts of the boat every time you go sailing and write down those details that you detect or aspects that you want to improve. This habit will allow you to get to know your own boat better and will even allow you to solve small incidents when you do not have a professional at hand.

2.聽聽聽 Budget to be allocated to the maintenance of your boat

As a general rule, the annual maintenance cost of a boat is usually estimated at 10% of the value of the boat. It is easy to budget for general annual maintenance of the boat such as engine and propeller overhauls, hull cleaning and antifouling.

However, it is more difficult to foresee and budget for repairs or replacements of items or accessories with a longer service life. To avoid surprises, it can be helpful to have a contingency fund for the replacement of essential boat equipment, major refits or the replacement of certain parts.

Approximate replacement guide for equipment on a boat:

Equipment and Accessories

Service life

Engines

15-20 years

Mast

20 years

Standing rigging (shrouds, stays, backstay)

5-10 years

Running rigging (sheets, halyards)

5 years

Sails ( for cruising use)

10 years

Upholstery and awnings

8-10 years

Life raft

12 years

Batteries

3-5 years

Teak

10-20 years

Electronics

10-15 years

3.聽聽聽 Engine

The engine is much more than the propulsion of your boat: it provides power to the batteries for the refrigerator, lighting, electronics, etc. and also for the ignition of the engine itself. In addition, some engines include a coil around the cooling and exhaust system, which heats the water for onboard consumption.

For a proper maintenance of the engine, check especially the following aspects:

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Cleanliness: having a clean engine, including the bilge, allows you to quickly detect any fluid leaks.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Carry out maintenance according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Once a year or when reaching a certain number of hours, whichever comes first, the oil and fuel filters should be changed.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Keep fuel filters clean.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Periodically check oil and coolant levels.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Cooling pump impeller. It is one of the most common damage, its repair is very simple and does not require special tools.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Check the alternator belt tension (this should be checked with the engine stopped). If the alternator is not charging properly, this is the first thing to check. In addition, it is important to always have a spare belt.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Lubrication of the transmission systems (reduction gear, shaft or tails).

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Check the sacrificial anodes to protect the metal parts from galvanic current.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Check the correct alignment of the shafts and the tightness of the stuffing boxes.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 In the case of outboard motors, it is important to clean the internal circuit of the salt accumulated after the circulation of sea water. Once you arrive at port, it is advisable to circulate fresh water inside the engine for 3-5 minutes to keep the engine in good condition for much longer.

4.聽聽聽 Mast, rigging and sails

The rigging on sailboats should be inspected annually, going up the topmast to check that everything is in order: lights, antenna, anemometer, wind vane, halyard box sheaves, shrouds terminals, etc.

When going down the mast it is a good opportunity to clean and lubricate the mainsail track, shroud terminals and check that the crosstrees and other elements that could damage the sails are well protected with insulating tape. If you prefer not to go to the top of the mast, ask a professional to carry out this check.

5.聽聽聽 Hull

It is important that the bottom of the hull (the part submerged in the water) is properly treated to protect the boat from water and humidity. For this purpose, it is important to check the following aspects:

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Primer for antifouling: it is the layer that protects the fiber hulls against osmosis and guarantees a correct adherence of the antifouling paint. It is necessary to foresee to change the primer every 5-7 years.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 When you take the boat out of the water at least once a year to clean and paint with antifouling, it is also the perfect time to check the condition of the hull to make sure there are no dents through which water can enter or bumps caused by osmosis as a result of water seepage between the fiberglass sheets.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Check the condition of the through-hulls: Metal through-hulls may be damaged by electrolysis. A white powder on the inside of the hull around the thru-hull is a sign of dezincification and that they should be replaced.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Seacocks: Check that they are operational and lubricated.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Bilge pumps: Also require periodic maintenance and check often that they are working properly.

6.聽聽聽 Teak

The resistance to the marine environment and its hardness make teak the optimum material for exterior surfaces that must be exposed to the elements.Despite this resistance, teak requires periodic maintenance to prevent deterioration and ensure its durability and appearance.

When it is new it has a vivid color and a nice shine, but in a short time it becomes dull and with more grayish tones than brown.

The care of the teak deck has always been a priority in all boats, a well-cared teak speaks a lot about the boat and its good maintenance. We recommend a thorough cleaning of the teak between one and three times a year depending on its condition.

The process for the maintenance of teak boat decks is: clean + polish + nourish (oil):

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Clean:

o聽聽 We will need a teak cleaner, a hose with fresh water, a bucket and a brush.

o聽聽 First rinse the surface with plenty of water and sprinkle the cleaning product on top.

o聽聽 Let it act for a few minutes and rub gently with the brush in a transverse way to the direction of the grain (important to use a soft bristle brush to avoid damaging the teak).

o聽聽 Finally, rinse with plenty of water.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 To polish: With this step we will return the teak to its original intense color.

o聽聽 Again we will begin by soaking the area with plenty of water, and diluting some polishing product in a bucket of water.

o聽聽 We extend it by the surface of generous form and we let act a few minutes and finally we rinse again.

o聽聽 We will have to let the surface to dry completely before continuing with the nourishing of the wood.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Nourish : Finally, it is advisable to give the teak an oil or sealer treatment. This will keep the material nourished and will last longer.

o聽聽 Remember that you should not use oil and sealer at the same time because it will form a paste very difficult to remove. You will have to choose one, it depends on your taste.

o聽聽 With the cover completely dry, apply the product with the help of a brush.

o聽聽 Try to remove the excess with a cloth.

o聽聽 Let it dry and, a couple of days later if you see that it needs it, give it another coat of treatment.

With these simple steps you will preserve the teak surface of your boat for many years to come. It will be the envy of the entire port.

7.聽聽聽 Electronics

It is not easy to meddle with the electronics if you have no knowledge in this area, but you can take a look by opening the central instrument panel or the control panel and make sure that there is no moisture.

It is also important to check that the slide and probe transducers are clean.

8.聽聽聽 Batteries and the electrical system

The key to a good electrical installation is order, i.e., that it is clearly marked to identify which wires are powering which equipment.

The inspection of the batteries

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 The first thing is to have clear and written down when was the last time that the batteries were changed to be able to control their useful life.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 To control that they charge correctly by means of the ammeter of the electric board and also that they retain the load.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 As long as the size of your boat allows it, it is essential to have two separate circuits, one exclusively for the ignition of the engine (of a corresponding amperage), and another one for the services. This way, if there is a problem, such as a short circuit, false contact, power leakage or you have simply forgotten to turn off the lights and the service batteries are depleted, you will always have the exclusive engine battery charged, to start the engine and recover the lost energy.

聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 The space reserved to the batteries must be dry and have ventilation, in addition the terminals must be well firm and clean.

It is habitual that in the terminals sulfate is formed, therefore, it is fundamental that you clean it to improve the contact and to avoid the corrosion.