By Captain Scott “Fraz” Murie
Modern sportfish yachts have so many high-tech systems on board that it’s truly mindboggling, and keeping them up and running is imperative. We have systems for everything including ice makers, watermakers, refrigeration, satellite communication, night vision, radar and fuel cleansers. There are advanced electronics with crystal clear multi-touch displays and black box communications that transfer signals and data throughout the entire boat, underwater lights of all colors, along with stabilizers and sonars. Today’s boats literally have every gadget imaginable, from hydraulic outriggers to bidets!
Often, I’ll talk to crews of these smart boats and the conversation always seems to be about what doesn’t work properly. Something I have learned about all systems on boats is that if you don’t use it, you lose it. The crews tell me, “It worked fine the last time I used it,” but most of the time it was one, two or even three months ago. These systems need to run continuously.
Always leave your refrigeration on whether you need it or not. The same with AC units. And, also run your watermaker at least every two weeks. But keep in mind that all systems that require raw water need to be kept clean and free from obstruction. For instance, keeping your sea strainers clean as well as all raw water hoses and raw water manifolds free from algae and shells is imperative!
Make sure to start your main engines and generator and bring them up to temperature and pressure. Be sure to start up all electronics frequently. In the off season, fire them up at the dock once a week.Test the hydraulic davits and windlass once a month. Run your washdown pumps and your macerator pumps once a month to keep them from freezing up.
Work all your seacocks back and forth so they remain smooth and not seized. I blame the environment for a lot of systems failures. Saltwater and moisture are harsh, and they cause corrosion on everything, but lack of maintenance is also to blame for multiple system failures. By running your systems often, it keeps them moving.
You will see that the more you use your equipment, the better it works and the longer it lasts. If it’s on the boat, turn it on and use it or lose it. Don’t wait ‘till the boss is on the boat with his guest and then try to fire up a faulting accessory. Know your boat, know your systems and don’t be the guy that says, “It worked last time I used it!” Boats need constant care, and with poor work ethic you will soon develop a reputation that’s hard to run from and eventually won’t be able to find a job in this industry.
– That’s my two-minute warning