Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vessel Maintenance

Examine the interior and exterior of the hull when it is out of the water.
Check for oxidation, a common problem on aluminum hulls, that appears as white powder spots. Use fine sandpaper on oxidized areas until spots are replaced by bright shiny metal.
Protect the environment, use only environmentally safe, non-phosphate detergents to remove oil and algae from fiberglass hulls.
Avoid abrasive materials, which can remove the shiny top layer (gel coat).
Patch holes immediately with a fiberglass patching compound.
Check through-hull fittings to make sure they are not cracked or leaking.
Remove all puddles from the interior before and after every cruise.
Store vessels in a dry area out of the sun. If you have to store your vessel for a long period of time, place the trailer on blocks to preserve the tires. Keep the vessel covered, leaving an opening to circulate air. Hang canoes upside down.
Clean all lines, dirt and sand cause deterioration, keep lines out of the sun when not in use, and replace weakened or fraying lines.
Clean sails with a soft brush. Examine them for small tears or open seams that can be repaired by taping or sewing.
Take a look at your owner's manual for a maintenance schedule.

Engine Maintenance
Follow a regular maintenance program.
Keep your engine clean and tuned properly. Look at your owner's manual for a maintenance schedule.
Check the oil and fluid levels before every cruise.
Change the oil according to the owner's manual. As the engine ages, increase the frequency of oil changes. Clean oil extends engine life.
Tighten battery connections. Clean battery terminals by disconnecting the terminals and removing corrosion with a wire brush. If the battery is weak when you start the engine, recharge it.
Inspect the engine for anything that shows signs of wear or requires tightening, such as hoses, belts, and bolts. Make sure everything is fitted properly, including the engine cover.
Never use automotive electrical parts. Use marine parts only. Use of automotive parts rather than sealed marine parts (such as alternators, starters, fuel pumps, and other electrical parts) could cause a spark that could ignite a fire.