Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Getting The Boat Ready for the Season: The Spring Checklist

Although Jay is the chief maintenance man for Obsession, I am the keeper of the "to do" list. With only a few short weeks before the boat goes in the water on May 30th this year, there is still lots to do to get the boat ready for the summer sailing season. Here is the Spring Checklist we follow. It is based largely on a checklist I found on http://www.go2marine.com/ and one I found on Boat US at http://www.boatus.com/.


· Do a general cleaning of hull, deck and topsides using a mild , environmental safe detergent
· Make sure drains and scuppers are clear
· Put on a good coat of wax in all hull topsides
· Clean and polish metal with a good metal polish
· Clean teak (and other wood) and oil to reseal
· Clean windows and hatches, clean screens
· Use a hose to check for deck leaks at ports and hatches. Renew caulk or gaskets as necessary.
· Clean canvas, bimini and dodger (use same soap)
· Clean sail covers
· Clean interior including bilges
· Check spare parts and tools and replace as necessary
· Make sure registration is current and onboard
· Clean interior cushions, cockpit cushions and curtains

· Check for hull abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc. and repair
· Check and replace zincs
· Check for blisters and refinish is necessary
· Check rub rails, has anything come loose?
· Check swim platform and/or ladder
· Check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop
· Check rudder and fittings. Check to make sure the rudderstock hasn’t been bent.
· Inspect prop(s) for dings, pitting and distortion. Make sure cotter pins are secure. Grip the prop and try moving the shaft - if it’s loose, the cutlass bearing may need to be replaced.
· Check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for looseness. After the boat is launched, be sure to check these as well as through-hulls for leaks.
· Touch up or replace antifouling paint

· Check stanchion, pulpits and lifelines for integrity
· Check ground tackle, anchor, rode and backup anchor / rode, etc
· Check lines, fenders, etc.
· Check chainplates, cleats and other deck fittings
· Check hull/deck joint
· Check deck, windows, and port lights for leaks
· Inspect anchor windlass and lubricate
· Clean and grease winches
· Check and lubricate blocks, pad eyes, etc.
· Check dinghy, and life raft

· Check, test and lubricate seacocks
· Check all thruhull fittings
· Check condition of hoses and clamps
· Make sure below waterline hoses are double clamped
· Check bilges pumps for automatic and manual operation
· Check for oil in bilges
· Check limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris

· Check battery water level – the single most often ignored task
· Check/recharge batteries
· Check terminals for corrosion, clean and lubricate .
· Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables. Wire-brush battery terminals and fill cells with distilled water.
· Check bonding system
· Inspect all wiring for wear and chafe
· Test all gauges for operability
· Check shore power and charger
· Check for spare fuses or breakers
· Check all lighting fixtures (including navigation lights) and make sure you have spare bulbs
· Check all electronics for proper operation
· Inspect antennas

· Sound signalling device – spare air can for air horn
· Check distress signals and expiration date
· Check PFDs (lifejackets).Make sure you have a properly sized and wearable life jackets in good condition for each passenger, including kids and pets.
· Inspect life rings and cushions
· Check fire extinguishers certification and recharge if necessary
· Check and adjust compass
· Check navigation lights
· Check charts and waterway guides and replace as necessary
· Check radar reflector
· Check and replace first aid supplies
· Check bailer and hand pump

· Change oil & filters – have spare oil & filters onboard
· Check and change fuel filters – have spares onboard. Inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Clamps should be snug and free of rust. Clean fuel filters.
· Check and change engine zincs
· Check cooling system change coolant as necessary – have extra onboard. Inspect cooling hoses and fittings for stiffness, rot, leaks and/or cracking. Make sure they fit snugly and are double-clamped.
· Record engine maintenance log, especially date & hours of last oil changes
· Check belts for tension – carry spare(s)
· Check transmission fluid
· Check and clean backfire flame arrestor
· Check impeller
· Check and clean water strainer
· Check bilge blower and hose for leaks
· Adjust valves, general service engine
· Inspect fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or cracking. Check all joints for leaks and make sure all lines are well supported with non-combustible clips or straps with smooth edges.
· Inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Clamps should be snug and free of rust. Clean fuel filters.

· Replace spark plugs
· Check plug wires for wear
· Check prop for nicks and bends
· Change/fill gear lube
· Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb and tank for leaks
· Lubricate and spray moveable parts

· Checked for smooth operation – lubricate and clean as necessary
· If equipped with treatment system, have chemicals on hand
· Y-valve operation checked, valve labelled & secured

· Flush water tank
· Shock the drinking water tank. Spa shock breaks down in a few days and then can be flushed out
· Check water system and pump for leaks and proper operation
· Check hot water tank working on both AC and engines
· Check for tank cap keys on board
· Check and clean shower sump pump screens

· Fill propane tank, check electric & manual valves, check storage box vent to make sure it is clear
· Check refrigerator, clean and freshen, operate on AC and DC
· Clean stove, check that all burners and oven are working
· Check stove and remote tanks for loose fittings and leaking hoses.
· Check microwave, if fitted

· Check for current registration
· Check pads
· Check and lubricate wheel bearings and repack as necessary
· Clean and lubricate winch
· Lubricate tongue jack and wheel
· Test lights and electrical connections
· Check tire pressure and condition.
· Inspect tire treads and sidewalls for cracks or lack of tread and replace as necessary. Don’t forget the spare!
· Check brakes  and make sure battery is charged
· Check safety chains
· Check tongue lock
· Inspect trailer frame for rust. Sand and paint to prevent further deterioration.

· Check general condition
· Look for wear and chafing
· Check battens and batten pockets
· Check all sail attachments, including grommets, rings, and all reef-points
· Inspect all of the stitching on the sail edges and all seams. Pay close attention to the leech of the headsail
· Inspect bolt rope

 · Check mast and spreaders for corrosion or damage
· Inspect spreader boots and shrouds
· Inspect rivets and screw connections for corrosion
· Check reefing points and reefing gear
· Clean and lube sail track
· Check rigging, turnbuckles and clevis pins for wear and corrosion
· Inspect stays for fraying and “fish hooks”
· Check forestay and backstay connections
· Check masthead fitting and pulleys
· Check and lubricate roller furling
· Check halyards and consider replacing or swapping end for end
· Remove tape on turnbuckles and lubricate threads, preferably with Teflon. Replace old tape with fresh tape. Tape turnbuckles, cotter pins, and spreaders
· Re-caulk through-deck chainplates as necessary (generally, once a decade).

· Inspect dock and anchor lines for chafing.
· Review your boat insurance policy and update coverage if needed. Be sure you have fuel spill insurance coverage.
· Check and clean the BBQ

I hope readers find it as helpful as we do. Happy Sailing!