Since the beginning of the coronavirus, there has been a lot of downtime because of the shutdowns across America. During this slow time, I have observed some good crews that are taking advantage of these shutdowns while paying extra attention to detailed maintenance on their boat.
I’m talking about time-consuming maintenance items, like removing, painting and servicing pumps, cleaning and polishing brass and stainless, checking bonding systems from bow to stern, flushing AC systems, sanding teak, repairing and refinishing varnish, taking the Racor fuel system out to repaint, rebuild and clean, changing zincs, painting engine rooms and cleaning bilges, removing everything from each locker and hatch on the boat and organizing/cleaning them.
Crews that stay busy every day like this, that take pride in their rigs and are paying attention to every square inch of detail on their boat, are just good. These guys are like money in the bank to their boat owners. They know everything about their boat.
They do the preventative maintenance that keeps their boat race-ready. Nothing is too big or too small. They know the seals are good on the refrigeration systems, they know the impellers are good on their raw water systems, and they know there won’t be any electrolysis problems because they’ve checked and repaired any bonding issues. They know the AC systems, the water maker and ice maker systems are good because they do the necessary maintenance to prevent failure.
One good example of a good crew is Captain Bob Atwell and his mate on the Blanchita. They are as good as it gets. Captain Bob runs a tight ship. He is the guy people come to with questions like, “What would you do. . .?” or “How would you do this . . .?” He is the perfect example of what every owner needs in a good captain. Atwell knows how to get the job done and how to do the job correctly.
Then you have the bad crews. I’m not sure if they are bad, lazy or just ignorant, or if I am just old school. These crews are everywhere. They do just enough work to keep the boat presentable. They spend most of their time just talking about fishing. The problem with this type of crew is that there is much more to maintaining a fishing boat than just fishing.
There is one thing these crews are good at, however. They are experts at calling a repair crew in when something goes wrong. Most of the time they find out their problem was something preventable like the AC system was clogged or a bonding wire was broke.
The fact is they don’t know what needs maintenance because they are not looking for it, and in reality, probably don’t know what to look for. It’s amazing how crews so clueless are in charge of these multi-million-dollar boats. They are easy to spot because they are usually standing around asking what you are doing.
With these types of crews, things can turn ugly real quick when you least expect it. Things that are totally preventable like old or broken clamps breaking on an exhaust or raw water system. Next thing you know, you are taking on water simply because of lack of maintenance.
There is, however, something very amusing to me about these crews. Just ask one of these bad crews what’s going on with their boats and their answers are always the same. “We’re all caught up, just waiting to go fishing.” Yeah right…
– That’s my two-minute warning. Fraz