By Captain Scott “Fraz” Murie
Dry docking your boat is necessary maintenance that we must do. That said, the routine of doing it once a year seems a little too often in my opinion. I believe that the annual dry-docking routine started back in the day when all boats were made of wood.
In those days, you had to keep up with adding cotton to the seams when you needed to keep them tight. Also, it was necessary to keep an eye out for worms eating away at whatever they could, as well as replacing planks where needed. Monitoring the worm shoe on your keel was also important. I highly recommend dry docking a wooden boat and inspecting it annually.
On the other hand, as the majority of boats have transformed from wooden to fiberglass, the haul out routine has never changed. With the products on the market today, if you take some preventive maintenance steps you can extend your haul-outs to every two years – or at the very least eighteen months. This is the routine that I have been doing for some time now.
I currently manage several boats. I have my boats on a plan that includes divers to come and clean the bottom monthly, keeping an eye on all zincs, checking all thru-hulls and sea chests, checking rudders for play, inspecting and cleaning wheels, cutlass bearings, shafts and trim tabs.
Also, you want to make sure your diver pays close attention to electrolysis. (For instance, if one rudder is clean and the other has signs of electrolysis you probably have a broken or corroded bonding wire on that rudder topside. If you keep your bottom clean there should be little effect on your fuel burn). These services cost an average of three dollars per foot. A 60-footer, for example, is $180 or you can do it all yourself if you really want to save some money.
Then there is waxing. Now there is no doubt waxing the hull is easier when the boat is out of the water. But with a little extra work we do it in the water and it’s no big deal. This is one way to save thousands of dollars every other year. Simply get out of the same old routine and do things a little different by getting your money’s worth out of the high-tech products we are all using today.
After all, as crew or owner you know the boat better than anyone: where it’s been, what it has been put through, if you’ve bumped bottom or whether it needs hauled and blocked. Use common sense. How many times have you hauled your boat out of the water and said, “Dang, she looks pretty good.” Probably just about every time because you just hauled her out twelve months ago!
So, go another year, or six months, and save a pile of money. Keep up with your dive maintenance and when you haul your boat out in two years, you’ll probably say, “Dang, she still looks pretty good!”
– That’s my two-minute warning. Fraz
Do you have any comments or questions for the Fraz? We’d love to hear from you.