|You probably won�t see them again for a year and if they go during the season you could end up with an expensive bill next winter.|
Six Things to Check While Your Boat is Ashore
While your vessel is ashore for the winter there are several things that should be checked and serviced to ensure that you have a problem free season.
The seacocks, to some people these are hidden under the carpets and never looked at, they are important as they keep your boat afloat. The first thing is to look at them from the outside and check the condition of the through-hull skin fittings, if they are bright and shiny you are having a problem with electrolysis, this needs to be dealt with otherwise they will eventually break off. Next is to go inside and check they all operate correctly and easily. The more modern ball type valves are fairly maintenance free but do sometimes get stiff with marine growth if not opened and shut regularly, they can often be freed up if stiff by someone standing outside spraying WD40 (other brands also available) into the fitting while you work the valve back and forth from the inside. Also check the handles on these valves as they are prone to rusting and usually break off at the wrong time. The older Blakes type valves need to be stripped down and serviced correctly each year to avoid them jamming. While doing this, check for signs of weeping from the valves and hose clips as this is a sure sign of trouble to come! Finally, check that each through-hull fitting has a wooden bung of the correct size tied to it, so if something does go wrong you can plug the hole quickly.
There are many types of stern glands, these are as important as the seacocks as they stop the water coming in around the propeller shaft. Many these days are of the maintenance free rubber type, check around the area for signs of drips, if in doubt replace these immediately as when they go, they go, and you may not even be on board at the time. Older styles with gland packing in are maintenance intensive and should be checked and greased each winter, if the packing is hard replace it.
Yachts with sail drives still have some checking to do, as where the drive leg goes through the hull there is a large seal or doughnut, these can perish over time, especially if in contact with rust, so keep the area clean.
Motor boats with outdrives should also be checked around the transom seals and bolts for signs of weeping and drips.
Propellers and shafts should again have a visual inspection, shiny bits or pitting indicate electrolysis problems which should be dealt with; also most vessels with propeller shafts will have a cutlass bearing to help support the shaft, these should be checked for wear as if it is excessive it will cause a lot of vibration and may even damage the shaft.
Finally there are the anodes, if they are more than 50% gone replace them, you probably won�t see them again for a year and if they go during the season you could end up with an expensive bill next winter.
About the Author
This article was written by Jeanette of Thornham Marina.