Select Page

While a boat is ashore, the most critical interior checks to carry out are those that concern the safety of the boat. This entails the integrity of all through-hull fittings and seacocks, the gas system and the electrical system.

Critical checks

  • Check all the through-hull fittings and seacocks are sound and that there are no signs of leakage such as salt crystals around the fitting. They should all be free of corrosion. If they are in good order and the seacocks open and close without problem then a routine service is all that is required. Make a note of any that are seized or in poor condition as they will require extra work and may need replacing.
  • Check the raw water intakes are not clogged with debris.
  • Check hose connections fit well and jubilee clips are in good condition. Remember that poorly fitting hose can easily come lose and potentially sink a boat.
  • Check the condition of the hoses leading to and from the seacocks. If these show signs of cracking, distortion or general deterioration, then they will need to be replaced.
  • Check the transducer and log skin fittings are in good condition and there are no stains around the fittings which could be caused by a leaking seal.
  • Check the gas system for leaks, following all the hoses carefully from the gas bottles to the appliances. Turn the gas on and brush the pipes and valves with soapy water – any bubbles will indicate there is a leak. Remember that gas is heavier than air and even a small gas leak can build up in the bilges and lead to a catastrophic explosion – all boats should be fitted with gas detectors for this reason.
  • Check the gas detector is working.
  • Check the condition of the gas regulator and replace if it shows signs of corrosion.
  • Check that flexible gas hose is in date and replace if it is out of date.

Top tips

  • Always ensure two jubilee clips are used to connect any seacock to its corresponding pipe.
  • Check the four mounting bolts on older Blake seacocks. If these are showing signs of corrosion, it may be worth re-mounting the seacock.
  • Through-hull depth and speed fittings normally have a rubber seal. These can dry out and perish if the vessel is out of the water for a long period of time. Its always worth checking these fittings as soon as the vessel is lifted back into the water for leaks.
  • Flexible orange gas hose should not be used behind a gas cooker. Marine gas engineers will recommend a braided hose instead, as this is better protected from chafing and damage.

Other interior checks

Other problems that are less critical but nonetheless important to sort out are any issues with bilge pumps, plumbing, heads, leaks and more cosmetic things like paintwork, varnishing and furnishing.

  • Check for leaks in the water system before draining down the system for the winter. Water leaks can be difficult to detect and may be due to a badly joined fitting or pipe.
  • Check the condition of both electric and manual bilge pumps. Check float switches are working correctly and that the outlet hoses are clear of debris that could cause a blockage. An outlet hose can be cleaned by back-flushing – you cannot always rely on the strainer preventing debris getting into the outlet hose and causing a blockage. Also check manually operated bilge pumps are working and that their bellows are in good condition and don’t need replacing.
  • Check for leaks that may be staining woodwork, upholstery or head linings. These may be coming from poorly sealed fittings, windows, hatches or hull to deck joints. You need to ascertain how serious these leaks are and if you are unable to trace what is causing them, this may be time to ask your surveyor for advice.
  • Check the condition of the bulkheads and make sure there is no de-lamination of veneer panels or moulding, which could be early signs of rot beginning beneath. This may not appear too serious at first sight but left unchecked could develop into a nasty problem. Make a note that this will need sorting out in due course. The issue here is that if nothing is done and the problem gets steadily worse then you could be looking at a major interior re-build which will be both time consuming and expensive.

How to operate a winch

Winches are drum shaped mechanical devices used to handle halyards, sheets and control lines. One of the important crew...

Winch Servicing

It is not essential to service the winches when a boat is ashore, but if time allows I prefer to do this maintenance job when the boat...

The VHF DSC Radio jargon buster

AIS - Automatic Identification System This system is used by shipping. It allows another vessel or coast station to use...

Boat engine cooling systems

Some boat engine breakdowns are unavoidable but those caused by lack of maintenance or regular checks can be avoided. Failure to maintain an engine’s cooling system is a well known example of this, so it is well worth spending time checking over the cooling system both when the boat is ashore and afloat.

Boating emergency – how to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call

How to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call   How to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call if a vessel or person is in grave...

Rig check – how to prevent failure at sea

Regular rig checks prevent the risk of mast and rigging failure at sea. This includes regular rig inspections of the spars, ...

First Aid Afloat – jellyfish stings

  Wherever you are boating in the world I am sure you will be using a pilot guide to aid your navigation. Often in the...

How to ensure your boat is in proper working condition

In this article Eva Tucker from Volvo Penta presents a handy check list of all the things that you need to check regularly in order to make sure that your boat is in a seaworthy condition. Including maintenance, safety gear and electrical checks.

Saildrive maintenance

There are less maintenance tasks to carry out on a saildrive transmission than on a traditional inboard shaft drive system with its associated stern gear. However, there are a few critical things that require maintenance, as recommended in detail by the engine manufacturers, and should be adhered to.

Navigation safety: a quick-reference mobile app to learn the ColRegs NavLights and Shapes

 Safety at SeaSafety at sea will always remains a topical and important subject that will no doubt dominate the syllabuses of nautical...

Tacking a sailing boat

Tacking is the sailing manoeuvre used to change a boat's direction through an oncoming wind. Tacking a sailing boat calls...

How diesel engines work

The basic principle of a diesel engine is less complex than that of a petrol engine. No spark plug or ignition system is needed, making the basic diesel engine a comparatively straightforward system that results in fewer faults and has lower maintenance costs than a petrol engine.

Passage Planning Advice & Safety for skippers

Passage planning helps you to: • Decide where to go • Calculate how long it will take to get there • Avoid bad weather •...

Wooden Hull Repairs

While wooden boat hull maintenance is mostly straightforward, it is always a good idea to take expert advice on any repair job needed doing to a wooden boat, unless you have done the job before and know what you are doing.

Getting a tow for your sail or power boat at sea or on inland waterways

FREE tips from the Safe Skipper App for iPhone/iPad/Android: Getting a tow for your sail or power boat Plan how to secure a...

Avoiding collisions at sea – how to stay safe on the water

Boats have many blind spots, including the headsails of sailing boats. Always keep a lookout, stay safe and remember that...

Sail boat rig checks – Part 1

Sailing boat rigs need to be checked regularly to reduce the risk of rig failure at sea. In part one of Sail boat rig checks we run through a series of useful checks that owners and skippers can carry out.

ColRegs – avoiding collisions at sea

ColRegs - avoiding collisions at sea ColRegs Rule 8: Action to avoid collision (a) Any action taken to avoid collision shall...

Propeller care and maintenance

Propellers are complicated and repairs should be done by specialists but owners can carry out checks and some routine maintenance themselves when the boat is in the boatyard. A propeller is critical to a boat’s performance, fuel consumption and ride, so it makes sense to keep a propeller in good working order.

Understanding your mast and rigging

The rig of a sailing boat is put under huge stresses and strains so it is important for inspections of a yacht's spars and rigging to be...

How to tackle osmosis

Many owners of old GRP boats live in fear of osmosis, but what exactly is osmosis and what can be done about it? Osmosis comes about...

Keel design – options to consider when choosing a yacht

Keel design is constantly evolving and nowhere is this more apparent than in modern racing yachts such as the Imoca Open 60...

What boating skills should you have before you buy a yacht?

Many people dream of owning a yacht and sailing off into the blue yonder. What boating skills should you have before you buy...

ColRegs Nav Lights & Shapes, Rules Of The Road and IALA Buoys Apps

ColRegs Nav Lights & Shapes, Rules Of The Road and IALA Buoys Apps Make Learning Rules on iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android...

Hourly Checks when sailing or motoring

  Hourly Checks Get into the habit of carrying out these checks and both yourself, your crew and your boat will be...