Wow, Labor Day was here and is gone which is a sure sign summer is almost over. I don’t know about you, but this summer went by far too quickly for me. Now that fall is upon us, it’s time to think about what needs to happen to the boat over the winter.
During the last few boating days of the season, make a list of all of the things that you want fixed, improved or otherwise, over the winter. It is easier to remember all of the little things that are bugging you while you are still using the boat.
The following is a list of questions that you can ask yourself on your last few boating trips. Lots of times these types of items that often end up on the spring list of work rather than on the fall list. Many of these items can be addressed over the winter, particularly if we have another one like last year.
Engines: Is the operating temperature and rpm’s the same as in the spring? Have belts started slipping? Did you have to fill up the oil mid-season? Have you noticed oil in the bilge this season? Are there any hoses or hose clamps dripping?
Systems: Does the fresh water pump operate more often than in the spring? Is the head more difficult to pump? Are there worse head odors in the boat? Does water run back in the bilge after you pump it out? Do the stove burners work as well? Are the electronics all working? Does the steering feel sloppy? Are the batteries staying charged? Does the air conditioning and refrigeration get as cold?
Rigging: Do you have any chaffed lines? When is the last time you had a rigging inspection or the mast removed from the boat? Is the furler as easy to operate? Do the winches spin easy? Are the clutches holding? Do you have any cam cleats where one side stopped working? Are there any bent pins or shackles on your main sheet?
Paint and Gelcoat: Are there any chips or scratches on deck that you want fixed? Any gelcoat voids that popped open over the summer? Did your anchor or mooring can scratch the hull this summer? How about putting in a chafe pad under some deck hardware that is scratching the deck?
Dock lines and ground tackle: Did your anchor windlass work well this summer? Are your dock lines in good condition? Is your anchor chain to anchor rode splice fraying? Does it not go through the windlass as easy as it used to? Does your chain have any rust on it?
Lifelines and rails: Are your lifeline or rail gates in good working condition? Do they open and close properly? Any rust showing on the lifeline fittings?
Of course this isn’t a complete list of all the questions that you should ask yourself, but hopefully it is enough to trigger others in your mind to help you come up with a full work list of items you need addressed on your boat.