The Danger of Deferred Maintenance
Fixing little problems at fitting out time can prevent dangerous and expensive issue laters
Look for leaks
Leaks are a part of life for boat owners, but if there’s one thing that should be clear, a small leak can add up to big problems. Look for signs of leaks and do a bit of investigation to find the source, determining whether it was a one-time issue or an ongoing problem. Staining, such as the brown stains in this photo, is a sign that a leak is persistent, in this case either the through-hull fitting or the hose is leaking. A bit of investigation will go a long way to preventing a big problem down the road.
Repair damaged lifelines and shrouds
Vinyl or plastic coating over lifelines or shrouds can cause a variety of issues that can eventually weaken them. Such coatings have two problems: They can trap moisture and dirt that will eventually lead to corrosion and they also hide that damage, making it more difficult to notice.
Owners with coated lifelines or shrouds should check under the coatings for signs of rust or corrosion. Better yet, remove the coatings or replace lifelines with uncoated stainless wire.
Take a look at hoses
Hoses are as important for moving liquids into and around the boat as they are for getting it out of the boat, so a failed hose can cause a big problem. A hose in good condition will be pliable and smooth. These hoses, which are dried and cracked are in danger of imminent failure.
Checking hoses throughout the boat at the beginning of the season can prevent a disaster. Such damage generally comes with age, so a once-a-season check will suffice. Any old or damaged hoses should be replaced, which is a small project compared to fixing the damage a broken hose can cause.