The days are shorter, and air is colder and that itch to get your boat out and catch a fish is beginning to fade away. Admit it, mentally you have a list of things you know need to be addressed, and you are putting it off until after the first of the year. You performed on the water feats of MacGyver magic all season long to keep that rig running, including the use of duct tape and bailing wire as bandaids. You know its true! As Thanksgiving goes by, then Christmas, that mental list will fade, and your pride and joy will take a backseat for a few months. Then comes that day you get the call, “the fish are biting”, and you ready your gear for an early season seabass trip only to find out the hard way the boat didn’t fix itself over the winter. I’ve been in the marine industry 30 years, and trust me, its a very common tale.
For my Captain On Board clients I leave a spiral binder and several pens at the helm for a “punch list”. Every glitch in the electrical system, rattle or creak, window leak, vibration or maybe an idea for an upgrade goes on that list.
Right now is the time to go over the punch list and prioritize it, then get to those repairs! Slipped boats need to come out of the water for a fresh coat of bottom paint, shafts pulled and checked and dinged props repaired or replaced.
Shipyards are slow this time of year, as everyone puts this stuff off until the very last minute. Perfect time to call around and negotiate the best price for shipyard services.
Once back in the water its time for maintenance. Change fluids and filters, replace zincs and check batteries.
Look at the dates on the batteries and decide if this is the year they need to be change out. If the batteries are 3+ years old, consider changing them before you end up stranded far from home.
Go through all the plumbing on the boat, tightening hose clamps and checking hoses for cracks or signs of deterioration.
Bait and washdown pumps should be checked and replaced now instead of when they break and leave you with a tank full of dead bait.
A thorough clean and wax job will put your eyes on every inch on your boat. Work from the top down and note every crack and ding, these too should be repaired this time of year.
Leaking portholes and windows may seen like a nuisance but that water is doing more harm than good. Some can be sealed with the window in place, while others may need to be removed and re-bedded to to make a good seal. Portholes may need to be replaced completely.
Go through your anchor gear and check connections, the condition of the rope and chain and tighten shackles and swivels. Service your anchor winch, or add one if its on your wish list. Maybe that anchor winch is slow and unreliable, so its time for an upgrade. Right now is the time. No doubt by doing all this before the holidays, you can come up with a few things to add to your Christmas list you just can’t justify treating yourself to.
Here at Captain On Board we do big boat projects all winter long, and like every year our schedule fills fast.
All the things our clients can’t do themselves or simply don’t have time for, we gladly take care of. Engine re-powers, complete rewire jobs and major painting projects, we do it all. I am available for anyone that wants to contact me for advice or a lead on parts/materials all winter long, but if you want something done it’ll have to go on the 2014/15 schedule, because we are booked solid again.
Contact me, Captain Jeff Jones at: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are stranded and need to get going, try my personal cell phone at: 1(562)704-9545, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. First and foremost here at Captain On Board, we are Captains, and know you need to get going as soon as possible. Most of the time I can get you underway just by helping you over the phone, so don’t be afraid to call.