Seasonal Boat Work
By Hartwell Champagne, Yard Manager at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard
As we move from one season to the next, your boating activities may change as well. Now is the time to prepare for that next season’s boating. For many boat owners, the next phase of the boating year is much slower than the summer season; and certainly, the weather conditions are different.
The following is a list of seasonal maintenance tasks that can be done to your boat now to be prepared for colder weather boating activities, or to prepare your boat for a less active fall and winter.
Repair Leaking Hatches and Portlights
Hatches and portlights that leak rain water or splashed sea water can promote mold and mildew below decks. This can lead to damage below decks joinery and can keep below deck cushions and fabrics wet and smelly. Before the consistent/daily rains begin, it is a good time to take care of these leaks. The weather is still relatively dry and warm, which allows for good working conditions of the materials and work space. Sometimes these jobs start small with defined goals and expand quickly into major activities.
It is good to have a good understanding of the amount of work involved and be prepared to stop or prioritize work opportunities as they arise. Correcting the leak should be the priority now before the rainy season settles in.
Engine and Heat Exchanger Flushing
Salt water left in the engine and heat exchanger during long periods of non-use can lead to development of mineral build-up that restricts water flow; or it can promote corrosion of engine components. Inspecting your engine’s raw water system to determine the best way to do this will be necessary. Some boats are equipped with a special fitting that allows a common garden hose to be attached to the system so fresh water can easily be introduced to rinse out destructive salt water. Now is a good time to flush the raw water system or install the parts that will allow for easy flushing of the system.
Basic System Inspection and Maintenance
After a long summer of boating, now is a good time to review the boat’s systems and inspect for failed or weak components. One area of interest is the electrical system. Inspect for corroded wire and cable terminals; check the voltage of each battery: disconnect cables directly at the battery, not at the power distribution panel gauges that may combine the voltage of battery banks.
Check the operations of all thru-hulls; close those that may not be used when the boat is not operated frequently. Changing filters and fluids after an active summer boating season is a good thing to do now as well: propulsion and generator engine oil, propulsion and generator engine fuel filters, furnace fuel filters, etc.
Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard Handles Your Boat’s Seasonal Maintenance Needs
This is just a small list of seasonal maintenance and repair activities that are good for this time of the year. We would be glad to speak to you about work that you are doing yourself, or to schedule some work that we can do for you in the boatyard.