When is it time for a detailed inspection of the vessel?


When is it time for a detailed inspection of the vessel?
  • 03.11.2021.

Each vessel requires a detailed inspection. The time you do it depends on when, how much and for what purposes you use your boat.

Most boats are used mostly in the summer, but there are owners who use their boats both throughout the year and in early spring or late fall. Some owners are passionate anglers, so in addition to enjoying the summer swimming with their family, they also like to have their boat ready all year round so that they can take advantage of any favorable weather to set sail. Taking into account all these owner requirements, it is difficult, but not impossible, to squeeze in a detailed inspection of the ship.

Naturally, every boat owner wants their boat to be tidy at all times and ready for the greatest effort they put before it. However, without regular and detailed inspections and service they will often be let down by their boat and sometimes, because of negligence, they will be unable to use their boat due to frequent breakdowns.

As a rule, there is a time to inspect each part of the boat, and it is best to do a detailed inspection rather than a perfunctory one. Each part of the ship has a regular service scheduled, but without occasional inspections there are risks of unforeseen breakdowns that cannot be prevented even by regular servicing. When it comes to the time periods for inspections, it depends on which systems you used and how frequently. In the following text, we will mention some ship systems, sort them from more important to less important, and explain why and how to inspect them.

Inspection of the boat engine

Every boat owner will say they have a good mechanic and they don’t have to worry about their engines because the mechanic knows everything and solves all issues very promptly. This may be true and there are many top-notch mechanics, but once you set sail you don't lock your mechanic in your engine compartment to keep an eye on your engine and be there with you just in case. You often sail so far away that not even your mechanic can reach you. In this case, it is the responsibility of the owner to check the propulsion engines from time to time, because they are the most important part of the boat that allow you to go from one desired destination to another. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the basics and do certain inspections during the voyage. The first thing to mention is the parameters (engine temperature, oil pressure…) that you must monitor while sailing. There is also the coolant level which is very easy to check, and which can be consumed for several reasons: some of these can be harmless and easily solvable (rupture of a hose), but others can be very serious (puncture of the head gasket). Also, it is mandatory to monitor the oil level in your engine especially after a slightly longer and higher engine load. If you notice an increased oil consumption, you will have very important information for your mechanic who will then solve the issues much faster because they will have first-hand information. Propeller transmission can also be included in engine inspections, whether they are z-drives or shafts, as well as the propellers themselves. As soon as strange symptoms appear, it is necessary to do a visual inspection, and contact your mechanic or the person in charge of maintaining the boat to agree on how to proceed.

Hull inspection

You will often hear boat owners saying their hull is perfect, not a scratch on it, never has it touched the waterfront, it is regularly polished and waxed for protection. Yes, but the hull consists of an overwater and underwater part. And while it is true that the overwater part will show no signs of issues when properly inspected, there is also the underwater part which is even more important to inspect. There are different-sized holes on the underwater part, which serve different purposes and are in different locations. Some are used for sea inlet to cool the engine, some for water discharge and others for shaft passage, but each hole should be checked visually from time to time. Each valve should be opened and closed to prevent blockage, and of course, it should be checked whether there is sea intake in the boat. There is no specific rule for inspection, it would be best to do it whenever you can because one can never be too cautious at sea.

Inspection of electrical installations on board

This is perhaps the hardest part to check on board. All electrical installations are well hidden, because let’s be honest, no one wants to see cables hanging out, lighting fixtures swaying, and switches falling out of their positions. That is why it would be best if you could check whether everything works on board, while also be able to use the boat. It may be that the lights are dimmer because the contacts are oxidized, or the radiator turns off because the batteries have lost capacity, the windlass raises the anchor more slowly because the engine is used a little more than usual and has to be serviced before the regularly scheduled service. These are all things that the owner should pay attention to when sailing and on the way back or before returning from the voyage. If a repair is necessary, inform the person maintaining the boat to react immediately or prepare everything for a quick repair upon your return to the marina.

There are a lot of things to look out for when sailing and which, if not monitored and checked, can lead to unwanted problems. To avoid such problems, be sure to consult with experts who take care of the vessel.

If you want instructions on how to inspect your boat in as much detail and quality as possible, or you need someone to do it for you, feel free to contact us and we will guide you or do it for you.