Boat maintenance checks

By Glasgow City Boats

Hello everyone we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Whilst it is important for us all to stay safe and isolated and practice the correct social distancing measures our beloved boats are being ignored.
So what should we do before using our boats for the first time after an extended lay up?We need to check all our systems and safety gear are operational and in date!Today we are going to look at the importance of correct machinery maintenance as the single highest cause for lifeboat callouts to vessel incidents was for machinery failure totalling 1322 callouts which was 36% of all callouts to vessels attended by the RNLI in the figures released for 2018.


What should we as boaters do?


We should ensure that our engines and outboards are properly serviced at the start of the season along with all through hull penetrations.
If you are performing your own maintenance make sure you refer to your engine manufacturers operation and maintenance manuals and follow the instructions listed within. We do not want to exceed manufacturer maintenance interval guidelines but we can perform basic maintenance more often if desired.Things we should be changing / checking:
Engine oil, oil filters, fuel filters, coolant, water pump impellors (if they are manufactured with rubber impellor blades as these can harden through lack of use and make poor contact with the water pump housing leading to poor coolant circulation flow ), spark plugs (on petrol engines) clean or replace air filters. Check condition of all belts, hoses and clamps and check all the through hull penetrations are in good order and that all sea cocks are fully opening and closing freely but not just engine, make sure you keep on top of all toilet, sink and any other seacocks that are fitted as if a hose connected to them breaks or becomes dislodged then a boat can flood and sink rapidly.


What sort of spares should I keep on my boat?


We would suggest that you should keep the following but not limited to.Some spare engine oil for engine for top upsAt least 1 of each type of oil filter required for your engine incase you need to perform an oil change when you are away from your home port as getting fresh oil can be easier and more strait forward than getting filters at short notice.At least 2 spare fuel filters for each fuel filter type onboard (in case of contaminated fuel)1 spare belt for each drive belt type, another option is the carriage of a universal belt kit (an example of a universal belt in photo)Selection of hose clamps that are in useSpare water pump impeller if fitted with rubber type impellerSpare spark plugs for those with petrol enginesBasic tool kit
This guide is not an exhaustive list but is a basic guide to help keep us safe and prepared for before we go out on the water, out next blog will be on safety gear and how to check if it is ready and safe to use. On our boat / marine courses at Glasgow City Boats we teach about maintenance and checks to look after your boat and equipment.


Stay safe everyone and follow the NHS guidelines in this difficult time and we look forward to this being over and being able meet up and interact / offer courses as normal soon!

Boat maintenance checks 1
New impeller
Boat maintenance checks 2
Worn out impeller
Boat maintenance checks 3
Universal adjustable belt