When laying up your vessel for the season, allow for time and prepare a plan which considers the following maintenance suggestions:
- Winterize all systems including the draining of all plumbing, air conditioning, engine, sanitation, and domestic water systems.
- Ensure the holding tank is empty.
- Inspect all seacocks.
- Most importantly, don’t forget to check on your vessel. Plan on stopping by the yard and performing a site inspection to ensure the vessel is well protected. For additional tips, refer to “Going into Layup”, provided by Chubb Insurance.
Also, consider a review of top in-season maintenance checkpoints, along with in-season suggested calendar scheduling:
Check for Leaks and Water in the Bilges. This can occur for various reasons including leaking or failed hoses or fittings, shaft packing, failed potable water systems when left under pressure, AC water hose failure, bad deck hatch gaskets, etc. Suggested calendar frequency: weekly, with bilges checked at least monthly.
Test Bilge Alarms & Bilge Pump Float Switches. As these fail for a variety of reasons, alarms and float switches should be checked to ensure proper function. Suggested calendar frequency: at least monthly.
Perform Battery Checks. Check to ensure your charger is on and is functioning properly. Addition, if you have lead acid batteries the water level must be checked frequently, and the batteries topped off with distilled water. Lead acid batteries on a charger will slowly convert the electrolyte (water) to hydrogen gas and the level drops. If not filled periodically the electrolyte level will get too low affecting battery performance, and eventually it will short the lead plates out and the battery fails. Suggested calendar frequency: at least monthly, or more often for frequent usage.
Cycle Sea Cock Valves. When you leave valves unused (whether open or closed) they can seize in the resting position. Many owners leave most of their seacock valves open for operating systems like AC’s, toilets using salt water, etc. Some owners even leave the engines and generator sea cocks in the open position. If you do not cycle the valves regularly to keep them free, you may not be able to close them to STOP the flow of water into the boat in the instance of a leak. Suggested calendar frequency: weekly
Test Smoke or Carbon Monoxide Alarms. These are safety devices that may save your life one day! Suggested calendar frequency: monthly testing, with back up batteries changed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines and instructions.
Clean AC Saltwater Strainers. The warmer the water, the faster you accumulate growth that reduces water flow, adversely affecting the efficiency of the AC’s to transfer heat. Additionally, treat the condensation pans periodically to keep the drain lines clear, and flush the AC coils to remove build up that will also reduce efficiency. Suggested calendar frequency: at least once per month for debris and growth and more frequently where water temperatures are warmer.