Give your boat a mid-season checkup

By Frank Barron

It’s mid-summer. Everything’s going well. You’ve had some good cruises and weathered a storm or two. What could go wrong now? To keep Murphy at bay, it’s prudent to spend a half-day giving your boat a mid-season checkup without the pressure of a journey. Begin by noting any obvious problems and their importance.

Stand back and observe: Do you see anything amiss? Start with this simple mid-season checklist and modify it to fit your needs.

Electrical

  • Examine all wiring (AC and DC)
  • Check the condition of your battery/batteries
  • Test all systems, including lights, navigation equipment, windlass, water heater and head

Engines

  • Examine all hoses for chafing and leaks (run a finger underneath the low point)
  • Check fuel filters and water separators
  • Examine exhaust systems
  • Check carbon monoxide detector
  • Check belt tensions and look for fragments
  • Examine wiring harnesses for corrosion and looseness
  • Check fluid levels and lubrication schedule

Propane systems

  • Check amount remaining in tanks
  • Examine hoses for chafing and deterioration
  • Test on/off valves
  • Replace rusted tanks

Plumbing

  • Squeeze and flex all hoses
  • Open and close all seacocks
  • Examine hose clamps for corrosion and security
  • Check bilge: ensure that dewatering pumps are operational and debris-free
  • Check all scuppers and drains

Canvas

  • Examine seams for wear
  • Pour water over canvas to check for leaks; reseal or replace

Hatches, ports and companionways

  • Check gaskets and seals
  • Look for leaks on the inside
  • Test ease of opening

Rigging and deck gear

  • Check dock lines and fenders; replace if needed
  • Check mast tuning to include all stays, plates and “cars” as well as lofting halyards and sheets
  • Unfurl sails (conditions permitting), and look for chafing, wear and distortion
  • Test sturdiness of lifelines

Safety

  • Inspect life jackets for serviceability and accessibility
  • Review vessel safety inspection points
  • Review man-overboard drills
  • Make sure charts are current
  • Check that the VHF is operational

Cleaning

  • Wash the boat, and check for rust and corrosion
  • Check food items, and look for pests

Although not complete, this list should provide a starting point for checking your boat mid-season to ensure that you have a lot more boating to enjoy this summer.

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