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Hire Boat maintenance

Guest Old Bill

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Maybe a daft question but....

Some years ago my brother hired a Calypso early in the season from a best nameless yard. I can't recall the exact problem he had but the call out engineer let slip in the chat that they didn't do any planned maintenance on the boats. Basically fixed them as they broke. IIRC the comment relayed was along the lines of, they sort out what is strictly necessary for the winter layup, eg drain domestic water as it will freeze and other jobs that would definitely be a pain are done. All those things that a private owner might do as we are told every year in the magazines is just ignored despite the hire boat having had a harder life.

Come the spring, it's more or less, "If it fires up, she'll be apples."

Is that right?

Surely not.

I always assumed it was the case that a good engineer casts his eyes over things weekly and spots things before they develop further?

Maybe I'm being naive and with loads of boats to turn round a true planned maintenance system isn't possible and a firefighting approach is best / cheapest.

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It really depends on the yard Bill. I know from personal experience that the yard I help out at have a check sheet for every boat that goes out, to ensure nothing gets missed. Having said that, though, with older craft there are always the odd bits and pieces that crop up from time to time.

A lot of the systmes on boats are hidden under floors etc and it isn't practical to check them every week, but engine wise the normal rules apply (water, oil, fuel etc) with things like glow plug cleaning etc tending to be done over the winter months. Most yards only have 4-5 hours between the boat being returned and sent back out again and at least 2-3 of that is for the cleaners. The engineers only have a couple of hours at most, so only the basic maintenance is possible in such a short time.

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Where I worked the boat boys as we called them had checklists covering everything from fuel, water to fenders, ropes, water keys etc. We engineers did not have a list as such, just a box to tick to say the boat had been checked over. We did all the usual levels and cast an eye over the engine in general, checking batteries for a good charge was an important part as the engines do not always run for long on turnround days. We also had regular oil and filter changes throughout the season, BMC's and Nannis every 6 weeks and Perkins 4108's every 4 weeks as they seem to be a very dirty engine!!

We also had to check all lights, pumps, sliding canopys, gas bottles.

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