Check, clean, charge and cast off: prepare your boat for its best season yet
August 13th, 2014 – Dubai, U.A.E: At the first sign of the Gulf’s summer coming to an end, boaters’ instant reaction is often to tear off the covers, blow away the sand and propel their vessels straight into the new season. Whilst this can be tempting, there are several precautions falling under the ‘three C’s’ - check, clean and charge - which should be taken to ensure a smooth cast off.
With many boat owners avoiding the outdoors or leaving the region for the summer, the majority of boats in the GCC are left in marinas to battle tough conditions including heat, humidity, UV radiation and salt air.
Mohamed El Newishy, Operations Manager of Lusail Marina, Doha, explains: “Exposure to summer’s elements can lead to potentially dangerous problems on boats, such as the breakdown of fuel in the tank, dry rot hoses and other rubber parts, and corrosion of metal parts and electrical systems.”
Khalil AbuJaber, Marina Manager of Almouj Marina, Oman, adds: “There are several post-summer steps that can be taken by boaters to ensure that day one of the new season is not cut short by a dead battery, spluttering engine or electrical failure. We never cast off after long periods of low usage without following the three C’s!”
Khalil and Mohamed’s ‘three C’s’ for a happy cast off are:
…everything! The first step in preparing your boat for the new season following the summer is to give the vessel a thorough once over:
- Systems and rubber parts bear added pressure in the heat as water expands and oil thins. It is important to check hoses, bilges pumps and connections.
- Water systems, pumps and fluid levels should be checked for leaks and normal operation.
- Check the engines including fuel filters, and change the oil and filters. Spare filters should be stored onboard at all times.
- Check that all necessary equipment is on board and working effectively, from distress signals and life-jackets to navigation lights and compass.
Whilst it might not seem like a top priority task, cleaning your boat with a light detergent after the long summer season is essential to wash away saltwater residue and protect the finish. As well as contributing to a more enjoyable boating experience in general, clean boats are also safer and more fuel efficient.
Applying a coat of wax to your boat will make cleaning easier and prevents surface dirt build up throughout the season.
Whilst your boat sits unused in the marina during the summer months, batteries can break down in the heat. Boat electronics such as stereos, radios, GPS and radar technology can also drain a boat’s battery. It is vital to check your battery strength and recharge using a battery charger before embarking on that first post-summer voyage. Batteries should be changed every four years.
It is also important to ensure that battery cables are not rusty or corroded. If they are, a wire brush can be used to clean the connection.
Khalil adds: “The three C’s should help you through preparations for the new season, but most importantly, remember to approach your marina staff with any questions or concerns before casting off.”