Vessel maintenance

Vessel maintenance doesn’t have to be a chore: get into a routine and maintain your boat to prevent breakdown on the water.

The four main areas to check are your:

Motor

Manufacturers usually recommend a service by a specialised workshop at least once a year- even if the motor is hardly used. This ensures vital internal parts such as the water pump are checked. If your motor is used regularly, you should change your gear-box oil every three months.

  • replace your pull cord if it is fraying
  • check all wiring
  • clean spark-plugs, check gaps and replace if required
  • check compression
  • lubricate all moving parts
  • check and re-fill gear case oil
  • clean cooling system passages
  • check propeller and nut – sand or file any small cracks
  • check and replace the sacrificial anode if required.

Fuel

  • always replace old fuel – never go out with fuel which is more than six months old
  • make sure you have enough fuel for the trip – 1/3 out, 1/3 back and 1/3 in reserve
  • clean your fuel tank at least once a year with a suitable solvent and dispose of old fuel responsibly
  • inspect the fuel tank for cracks or corrosion
  • always replace old fuel after periods of inactivity
  • inspect fuel lines, manual priming bulb and connections for cracks and leaks
  • clean out or replace fuel filter
  • for fuel disposal please make contact with your local council for details.

Batteries

  • top up battery cells with distilled water and check each cell with a hydrometer
  • the battery should be charged at a rate that is suitable to the battery and should never be over-charged
  • batteries should be secured in brackets
  • battery terminals, cables and casing should be kept clean
  • grease terminals regularly
  • test all equipment that uses the battery.

Boat structure

  • clean and paint your boat regularly
  • inspect boat for corrosion and cracks
  • ensure all bungs are suitable and in good condition
  • check for water and fuel leaks
  • check and grease drain flaps
  • ensure bilges are clean and dry
  • test steering for stiffness – oil cables with the correct lubricant.

We also recommend keeping the following items on board:

  • engine manual
  • flywheel pull rope
  • spare ‘O’ rings for fuel connector
  • new spark-plugs
  • spark-plug spanner (or diesel injector spanner)
  • ratchet with extender and shifting spanner
  • spare fuses, bung and shackle
  • sharp knife, pliers and screwdrivers
  • spare propeller nut, washer, split pins and socket for propeller nut
  • steel wool to clean battery terminals
  • de-watering spray (RP7 or similar)
  • spare oil and funnel
  • spare key and stop harness (kill switch lanyard).