boat maintenance A-Z

Anodes

What are they Sacrificial anodes are chunks of zinc, aluminum or magnesium which are fitted to a boat underneath the waterline. Why are they needed Their job is to...

Antifouling

What is it A special paint applied to the bottom of a boat, usually made of cuprous oxide (or other copper compounds). What’s its purpose To slow the growth...

Bilge

What's a bilge? The bilge is the lowest compartment on a sailboat, below the waterline, where the two sides meet at the keel. Water that doesn’t...

Blocks

What are they? They’re one of the most essential pieces of hardware on any sailboat. Lines run through blocks to create purchase systems or change...

Chainplates

What are they, and what’s their job? Chainplates are metal plates (usually made from stainless steel) used to attach a shroud or stay to the...

Check Valves

What are they, and what’s their job? Valves which ensure fluids (and in some cases also air) only flow in one direction. See some examples of...

Cutlass Bearing

What is it, and where do you find it? A boat’s propeller shaft is supported at both ends. At the inboard end it’s held by a...

Fire Extinguishers

Such is the importance of fire extinguishers, I wanted to include this Know Your Fire Extinguishers article which is well worth a read. "It’s with good reason...

Fresh Water Tank Cleaning

It’s time to give your tanks a clean if the water starts to taste funny, or if there’s a film on the surface of...

Gas Maintenance

Considering gas is the most dangerous substance likely to be on board, you’d be surprised how far down the list most people place the...

Gelcoat

What is it? Gelcoat is the smooth, hard polyester resin surface coating of a fibreglass structure. If you own a fibreglass boat for long enough, at...

Hatches

As this article says, “Don’t let a little drip turn into a gusher, fixing hatches isn’t as hard as you think”. I can second this...

Heads

“Most problems with marine toilets stem from a lack of basic maintenance, or an attempt to flush bulky foreign matter through the system. Keeping...

Hull

As you’d expect, this is a pretty broad topic. Here you’ll find a series of articles which cover waxing, aluminum care, polyester and epoxy resins (and...

Installing A Battery Monitor

One of the things that I find most amazing about sailing is the simplicity of it. You pull a rope - ehrm sorry, a...

Keel

I don’t need to explain why maintaining your keel is vital. Thankfully even if you’re not an expert, there are still a number of checks...

Keel Bolts

Yachts with an external ballast Raise the floorboards regularly. Check the keel bolts and surrounding structure looking out for rusty or loose bolts, water, dust...

Lines

Lines / halyards / sheets / running rigging should all be washed when they start to look a bit grubby. It’s pretty easy, simply put...

Marine Batteries

For most of us, marine batteries are a bit of a mystery. I find that articles tend to get overly technical very quickly making...

Marine Diesel Engine

Although I’m the proud holder of an RYA Diesel Engine Course Certificate, I’m not confident enough to impart my knowledge on the subject just yet,...

Navigation Lights

Four tips for keeping them in good working order: Clean the contacts of both the bulb and the fixture regularly. Use fine sandpaper wrapped...

O-rings

These can be found in a few places,. In your engine (oil seals), less common now but in some sterndrives, outboard motors and in your deck fuel fillers....

Raw Water Cooling System

This video shows how to go about flushing your system. I’ve no insight as to whether the product is any good (I’ve heard a...

Rolling Furler

In this (2 page) article by Wayne Canning there are some great tips on how to maintain your rolling furling system. He says that whilst they are highly...

Shore power cables

Check your shore power cable, especially if you’re leaving it plugged in over the winter. Here’s how: Unplug the cable and carefully inspect both ends...

Sprayhood

What it is? A frame-supported canvas over the companionway (the entrance) of a sailboat which provides the on-deck crew partial cover from the sea which...

Squeaky Floorboards

Try rubbing candle wax on the underside of your floorboards to stop them squeaking. Another tip - talcum powder. Never get caught out again...

Thru-Hull Fittings

Wayne Canning gives some advice on how to maintain your thru-hull and seacocks.  What happens when they fail? Whether it’s a seacock or a log transducer,...

Winches

Keep your winches in top shape without denting your wallet by servicing them yourself. We were a bit daunted, mainly worrying about how we'd...