Summer is definitely here in all its British glory, here are some summer tips to keep you going:
· Check all hull fittings and especially the transducers/sensors used by the onboard electronics, keep the screw threads of through-hull housings well-greased with silicone or water pump grease. Ensure that the outer surfaces of the housings are properly coated with anti-fouling paint NOTE that Depth and Sonar transducers should be hand painted – not sprayed, with a thin coat of a non-metallic containing, non-ketone based anti-foul. Check with the manufacturers because some anti-foul will damage the sonar face of the transducers or impair the operation of the transducer. Speed impellers should also be hand painted with a thin coat of anti-foul, be careful not to impede operation of the paddle wheel.
· Check the operation of the speed transducer paddle wheel, use a transducer service kit and fit a new paddle-wheel, paddle-wheel axle and O-Rings if the speed transducer looks worn or fouled in any way. The requirement to replace the paddle wheel is determined by local water conditions, the sandier and muddier the water, the more the paddle wheel bearings will wear and a service kit might be needed every season to ensure accurate speed through the water.
· Inspect the O-rings on both the sensor and the blanking plug and replace if damaged or worn, and then lubricate with an inert silicone lubricant or petroleum jelly (Vaseline®).
· Check the sacrificial Anodes on the outside of the hull, excessive deterioration, or corrosive damage to other metallic hull fittings suggests there is an electrical issue onboard the boat associated with grounding or earth leakage currents and a qualified professional engineer should be engaged to investigate further.
· Check the security of all earth bonding or grounding strips, ensure connections are secure, that grounding strips are undamaged and that grounding plates on the outside of the hull are clean and in good condition.
· SSB radios use a sintered plate on the outside of the hull underwater to ensure an effective ground, check the security of this plate before the boat is refloated, ensure it is clean – DO NOT antifoul it. These plates or blocks are usually made of thousands of small Bronze spheres to maximise the surface area and the gaps between them can become clogged with marine life or debris, ensure the plate is secure on the hull and in good condition.
· Check all exterior electrical cabling, plugs and connectors are in good condition, replace any which appear damaged.
· Check all exterior lighting and replace any lenses or fittings which are defective, cracked or leaking.
· Check all cable runs through the boat, ensure all cabling is undamaged, secured correctly to avoid chafing, does not run through areas where it will be subject to excessive temperatures or lie submerged underwater for extended periods. Locate and check all junction boxes – this is a good opportunity to ensure you know where all the cables run and where connections are located which could help when trying to diagnose issues at sea.
· Check the status of replaceable batteries in all handheld devices, Radios, GPS’s, EPIRBs, check the battery terminals are clean and replace with new batteries as necessary. Ensure any rechargeable batteries will hold a charge and ensure they are fully charged. Test correct operation of all devices.