Tuesday, January 13

Crowley's Tip #2 - The January boat check

Your boat may be “put away” but she still needs a little attention. Midway through the winter season is a good time to make a special trip down to your boat yard to check on how she’s resting.

You want to inspect how the boat is sitting on the hard. Your boat may be on a cradle, jack stands, trailer or free cribbing. All these systems can support your boat just fine, but each system needs to be looked at with a critical eye at least once during the season.

As you approach your boat, stop a few boat lengths away and get a good overall picture of the vessels attitude. It should be level from side to side and a little bow up or down, depending on how the deck drains.

Next, go right up to each contact point between your cradle and the boat. You are looking for even, consistent pressure across the supports. Shake or tap on each support to get a feel of how much pressure is on each pad. This is a hands-on job. You will not get a good read unless you touch each support.

Now follow the pad down to the ground. Look for bends, breaks, kinks and twists. Any signs that the boat has shifted should be reported to the service department immediately. Inspect continuously from the contact point all the way down to the ground. You want her to be on a nice firm footing.

Steel cradles with adjustable screw pads are the safest, simplest and most adjustable of all types of blocking. With this type of cradle, your major concern is one pad punching into the hull. This can usually be remedied by simply adjusting the pads. On occasion, the boat may have to be shifted fore or aft on the cradle to balance her out.

Jack stands are similar to a steel cradle. They have an advantage in being able to be positioned anywhere on the hull, but they are individual components that must work in unison. Each jack stand must be inspected on three major points. First, the pad must be resting firmly against the hull. Second, the stand’s feet must be on solid ground. Third, opposing stands must be secured together, athwartship, with chain.

Loose blocking, whether wood, steel or even brick poses the possibility of collapse. Any tower of blocking should be carefully built, larger blocks on the bottom and interlocking rows. This type of blocking should be inspected for shifting monthly.

If your boat is resting on a trailer, chances are the bunks or rollers contacting the boat have not moved. To know for sure, You’re going to have to get way down and take a look at the contact points. The trailer has tires that need attention. Now is a good time to bring along a small air compressor and properly inflate each tire. Also, add a support block to the back of the trailer to
prevent the bow from flipping up and causing damage to the rudder or outdrive.

Crowley's Yacht Yard has over 20,000 pads, blocks and stands in use this winter. Our storage team inspects every one regularly. Now is a great time to drift down to your yard and make sure your vessel is safe on the hard.

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