Basic Boat Maintenance: How to Keep Your Boat in Tip-Top Shape

Sailing catamarans, motor yachts, trimarans – no matter what type of boat you have, routine maintenance is the key to keeping your boat in tip-top shape. Your proactivity will pay huge dividends down the line.

Regular maintenance is important to ensure you know your boat well, are aware of any potential issues and know how to fix them should an issue arise. On a cruising vessel, the systems are significantly larger than they would be on a small trailered fishing boat and are much more complex, thus requiring regular checks. Other elements of your boat also need to be inspected regularly, and some of these checks will be more obvious than others, even to experienced boaters. Not everybody is a certified mechanic, electrician or fibreglass expert, but with the right tools, diagnostic equipment and a little know-how, even a novice-boater can conduct regular maintenance. This will ensure optimal performance, fewer problems down the line and a far more superior experience aboard your vessel.

Here are some basic boat maintenance tips you can start today.

Watermaker Maintenance

Even if you have fresh water flushing your watermaker after every use, you should still be sure to clean your membrane(s) at least once a year. This prevents bacterial fouling of the membrane and will increase the amount of water you have available for washing, drinking and cooking. It will also save you money in the long run as the semi-permeable polymer membrane—the heart of the watermaker—can cost up to $1,000, so keeping yours maintained for as long as possible can really pay off.

Air Conditioning Units

Your boat’s airconditioning units are often hidden from sight and can easily be forgotten. Marine growth can easily occur in a marine air conditioning system which can quickly lead to problems. The good news is that this is easily preventable by keeping the filters clean and free of debris. Not only will this help you avoid expensive repairs in the future, it will give you better airflow inside the cabin and improve the overall air quality too.

Fridge Compressors

It’s important on any boat to ensure that your refrigerator runs efficiently and effectively. With most cruising boats running a 12v individual fridge compressor, the cooling fins and the fan can quickly gather dust and decrease your fridge’s performance. As part of your regular boat maintenance, check that these are clean and keep your fridge running as best as possible and your power consumption to a minimum.

Main Sail Track

When the time comes to drop your mainsails, you need to be sure that everything is working as it should. It’s important the mainsail car track is cleaned and degreased on a regular basis. In order to thoroughly clean the car track, the mast must be climbed by one of the crew who should inspect not only the car track but also the car ball bearings and/or slides. Degreasing and cleaning should be done from top to bottom and should be sprayed with a dry lubricant or silicone spray.

Holding Tanks and Toilet Hoses

From time to time, you should clean the holding tanks using a tank cleaner. This will prevent any nasty odours from occurring and will also decrease build-up inside the tank. It’s also advisable to check the sanitary hose, particularly on older boats, as this can be the cause of a stale odour. Over time, even the best quality hose starts to permeate the smell, and replacing it can make a big difference. Changing the hose also reduces the chance of excessive calcium build-up, which can lead to a toilet blockage over time.

Taps and Shower Heads

Over time, the heads of all your taps and showers can become blocked and suffer from calcium build up. Improve their performance and reduce the amount of work required by the fresh water pump by regularly descaling and cleaning your taps and shower heads.  

Keep the Bilges Clean

By keeping your bilges clean, you can easily find the source of any new leaks in your vessel, significantly reduce the chances of pests coming aboard, and also prevent bad odours forming. However, most importantly, cleaning your bilges regularly prevents the pumps from blocking in case you ever need to use them in an emergency situation.

Perform Regular Maintenance

As you can see, performing regular boat maintenance doesn’t have to be very expensive or time-consuming. Add these tasks to your maintenance schedule, keep your boat and all onboard components running as efficiently as possible and avoid expensive repairs down the line. By following these tips, you can look forward to a more enjoyable and relaxing boating experience the next time you set sail.

Ask the Experts

If you need more information on how to keep your boat in tip-top condition, get in touch with Multihull Solutions today. Our experienced, knowledgeable and friendly staff are ready to help you with all of your boating needs.

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