Protect Your Investment
Now that the season has begun and everything is fixed, painted, varnished, and shined, what should you focus on to protect your investment? The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is never more true than in boating. This is even more true if you are thinking about selling a season or two down the road, but these steps will improve your enjoyment of your boat now.
On my Bristol 41.1 we used to refer to the locker forward of the windlass, where the spare anchor rode lived, as the “Petri dish,” given the rapidity with which flora and fauna seemed to grow in its warm and moist embrace. At least monthly the rode would come out, dried out, the locker scrubbed, and everything reassembled. Find you own Petri dishes aboard and stay on top of them. Every locker has something in it that no longer has a safety or operational function. Lockers are a lot easier to keep clean with less in them.
Our boats live in a moist, corrosive environment. Know your systems and their electrical and mechanical connections. Check on a regular basis for corrosion and address it with oil, grease, or corrosion inhibitors. There are lots of excellent products out there to help. I kept a plastic bin with corrosion inhibitors, winch grease, penetrating oil, sail track lube, etc. I also kept an electrical kit with meter, a large assortment of connectors, and the tools to change connectors proactively.
If you have varnish, don’t leave a bare spot bare. Get some build up back on, or you’ll pay dearly later. Chase deck, hatch, and window leaks when you see them. Periodically watch your engine run under load when someone else is driving and look for fluid leaks. Wipe your engine down after a long run when it cools, it is the best way to find leaks. Invest in an infrared thermometer and check temps at the manifold, exhaust system, and cooling lines and write down what those temps should be under normal conditions. Take action when they change. Clean and paint the rusty bits on the engine. Check fluids daily on a cruise.
There are lots of other items to watch but this is a good start. Oh, and don’t forget to floss.