PS Advisor: 11/15/02
I am in need of a checklist as to routine maintenance when leaving a boat on a mooring ball such as close seacocks; inspect bilge; shut off battery and switches; close hatches; etc. I'm also in need of checklist of periodic maintenance in spring and fall. I am a subscriber to PS. I am also a USCG licensed captain and ASA certified Sailing Instructor, and recommend your periodical to all my students. Keep up the great work.
Thanks for your nice letter. J-Boats maintains a good generic annual maintenance checklist on their website. The address is: www.jboats.com/pdf/jchecklist.pdf. Any such list will be useful, but you'll find that you need to customize the list as you move around your own boat.
In addition to the checklist items you mention for when you leave the boat, we'd suggest the following:
- Center rudder and lock helm.
- Check sail cover and its fasteners.
- Coil and stow all lines and running rigging.
- Double-check security of mooring/dock lines.
- Check chafing gear.
- Check for open ports, especially in cockpit well and hull sides.
- Ensure adequate ventilation through ventilators.
- Check padlocks on lockers and companionway.
- Frap non-internal halyards away from mast with gilguys to the shrouds.
- Stow ensign and any loose gear.
- Make sure any shore power connections are secure.
- If at the dock, manhandle the boat to make sure bow, stern, and spring lines are set to proper length and angles.
This last routine is one that we rarely see used. Many people will cleat their mooring lines, then spend long minutes eyeballing and contemplating the set of the lines, maybe tweaking one or two, then walk away, hoping that they've set things up right.
The better move—and it can be done on surprisingly big boats—is to lay hold of that gunwale and haul away, forward, aft, and athwartships at bow and stern. Try hard to make the boat hit something, because that's what wind and tide will try to do. Then you'll know if your lines are set up right. And it's good entertainment for the neighbors.
I recently splashed our sailboat after seven months of on-shore maintenance. I replaced a stuck 1-1/4" Marelon seacock and lubricated the others with marine grease. After two months in the water, the 1-1/4" Marelon seacock on the holding tank's below-water discharge line sticks. I can turn it, and do so each weekend to try to free it from crustaceans or whatever is interfering with it. (We're on the Potomac.) It's pretty stiff though, and I worry that I might break the handle.
Any suggestions on how to lubricate the seacock, short of removing it?
Art Bandy of Forespar has given us permission to quote from the following Tech Tip on the Forespar website (www.forespar.com):
"While Marelon® fittings are corrosion resistant, they do require twice yearly lubrication maintenance. These valves should be activated on a regular schedule. The handle should be moved throughout the open/close path every 30 days. Leaving a valve open or closed without moving the handle can cause freeze-up. This is true of any valve, including bronze. The law of nature is 'use it or lose it.'
"To lubricate ball valves and seacocks while the boat is in the water you must:
1. Close valve.
2. Remove hose from tailpipe.
3. Remove remaining water from valve/tailpipe.
4. Swab waterproof grease (water pump grease, winch grease) or LanoCote™, generously, on ball.
5. Reattach hose, checking for fatigue and rusted hose clamps.
Activate valve a few times. When boat is hauled, you can perform steps 4-6 from outside the hull to lubricate opposite side of ball and seals."