On July 3rd, 1999, a charter fishing boat, Randon Harvest, returning from an angling trip with eight people on board, including six anglers, developed a leak as it surfed the rough southwest Brighton sea conditions.
Luckily, the leak was stopped before it could cause extensive flooding, and the vessel could return to land where all the water was pumped out.
The accident report showed that the leak was because of the failure of a brass 25mm diameter through nut fitting to the toilet inlet that had broken close to its flange.
According to the report, the fitting had failed because of dezincification, which had most likely been accelerated by stray electric currents.
Although the situation was controlled and no one was hurt in the incident, it could have been worse had the leak been larger.
You wouldn’t want the same thing to happen to your fishing vessel, would you?
Luckily, you can prevent such an incident by taking good care of your fishing boat. How do you do it? There are plenty of ways of going about it. Here they are:
Regularly clean the exterior of your boat
Besides showcasing the beauty of your vessel, keeping your boat clean on the outside prevents you from spreading invasive materials and species from one water body to another.
As you are fishing, it’s common for plants and even animals to attach to the body of your boat and as a responsible angler, you wouldn’t want to transfer them around.
It’s recommended you clean the outside of your vessel when you come out of the water, which prevents you from taking the plants and animals to the next water body you launch in.
A clean boat also performs better compared to a dirty one. A study by Boat haulers showed an increase in fuel consumption of up to 30% when you haul your fish using a dirty vessel.
If you fish in salty seawater, regular cleaning of your vessel comes in handy in protecting the boat structure from the salt and keeps the finish intact.
Always clean your boat as soon as you come out of the water for the best outcome. While at it, remember to use safe cleaning products and rinse the vessel with fresh, clean water.
Change the boat’s oil regularly.
Like other vehicles, you need to change the oil to keep the engine in top shape. Whether you have a four-stroke, inboard, stern drive, or any other fishing vessel, you will need to do regular oil changes.
The regularity at which you do it depends on the model of the boat and how often you use it.
While this is the case, a good rule of thumb is to change the oil at least once a year or every 100 hours of operation.
You can go about the oil change in two ways—change the oil yourself or have it done by a local dealer.
If you opt to do it yourself, you should know that it’s easy to do. As long as you have the right tools, you are good to go. Some tools you need for the oil change include an oil extractor pump to take out the oil through the dipstick tube, an oil wrench, and enough rags to catch the drips that might result.
It will also be good to place an absorbing pad under the boat’s engine to provide additional protection against messy oil that might pour out.
Always check the propellers.
Propeller inspection is a vital part of regular boat maintenance that you should undertake. Unfortunately, many people forget about it, which is wrong.
If you have an outboard or stern driver boat, you should regularly check the condition of the propeller and ensure that no fishing line has become draped around the propeller shaft.
If there is no fishing line around the shaft, you are good, but if there is one, remove the line and then take your vessel to a dealer to check the gear cases, as they are prone to gear leaks due to pressure brought about by the gear line.
Besides looking out for the fishing line, carefully go through the propeller and ensure that it’s free of nicks, dents, and other indications of damage.
It’s okay for the propeller to miss some paint, but you have a reason to worry if there are signs of impact, such as a small dent that can compromise the vessel’s performance.
Keep an eye on the boat battery during off seasons
If your boat is battery-powered, don’t let it simply sit, especially during off seasons. The right thing to do is to take the battery out and clean it thoroughly. It’s also wise to lubricate the metal terminals, charge them, and store them safely.
If you have to maintain the fluid levels, use distilled water. As a rule of thumb, avoid tap water, as it has plenty of metals and other contaminants that can hurt your battery.
Always strive to keep the top of the battery in mint condition. This is because electrolytes, dust, and other items can create a circuit across the top of the battery and discharge it.
To clean the terminals, use baking soda and water. As you are cleaning, ensure the baking soda doesn’t get inside the battery.
Be ultra-cautious with salt water.
It’s no secret that salt speeds up corrosion, so it’s vital that you are ultra-cautious with your vessel, especially if you regularly take your boat on saltwater.
To keep your boat in top shape, do these two things at least 24 hours after you come out of saltwater fishing:
Clean your boat: Wash your boat with fresh water to remove salt residues and protect the boat’s finish. It also doesn’t hurt to clean the seats with water and soap to remove salt and dirt.
Flush the engine: You need to flush the engine to prevent corrosion on the inside of the engine and keep salt from collecting in the lower unit.
You can easily flush your engine but if you don’t have the time or don’t have confidence in your skills, let a professional help out.