Maintenance tips for cruising
To ensure a trouble-free boating season, follow these general maintenance tips for cruising:
- Engine: At the end of the day, run the engine exhaust blowers for 20 to 45 minutes to remove excess heat from the engine compartment. This helps prevent damage to your pricy engine room equipment.
Oil absorption pads placed under your engine and transmission can give you an early indication of impending trouble by making oil leaks evident. They also make cleaning the engine room easier.
- Hoses: Squeeze hoses, feeling for soft, bulging or cracked spots. Check for corrosion on the clamps. Many stainless steel clamps have inferior grade stainless screws, which will corrode. Use all 316 stainless steel hose clamps. On double-clamped hoses, set clamps 180 degrees to each other, facing in the opposite direction.
- A/C system: Remove, clean or replace all filters monthly. Clean all drain pans monthly and check for debris that might clog the drain line. Check sea strainers biweekly and clean as needed.
Note normal water flow, so you will notice if it changes. Back flush raw water lines annually by manufacturer specifications. Add chlorine tablets to the seawater strainer and run the system to destroy algae buildup in lines.
- Electrical system: Check battery fluid once a week and add fluid as needed. Examine battery terminals monthly for tightness and corrosion. Check battery chargers weekly for proper operation. Before each cruise, check all navigational lights. Check battery cells with a hydrometer or load test them every six months.
- Bilge system: Check the bilge daily for excess water and clean if oil is present. Every week, check the bilge pump and float switch for proper operation. Wash the bilge annually.
Planning Your Cruise
Dream of cruising to exotic destinations, chartering in foreign waters? The Cruise and Cruise Planning course gets you started on your next adventure!