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Boat maintenance schedule

This article takes a general look at the things you need to be doing, and when, to keep your boat in tip-top working order.

Repairing boat engine electrics

Before we go on, thanks have to go to the experts at River Canal Rescue who've also helped put together the schedule of what to do when and how often.

Now, this may sound like common sense, but it's worth bearing in mind that your boat is unique. Over the years one tinkerer or another may have put a dog leg into a pipe or subtly changed the wiring on that bit of kit – the schedule discussed here is a rough guide only and expert advice should be sought if you're ever in doubt.

On to the list then. We must warn you that when we first saw it we wondered how on earth you'd ever get a chance to actually go boating! While there is no quick fix (unless of course you get an expert in to do it all), the motto ‘little and often' may become a useful mantra.

The full schedule is far too big to replicate here so what we thought might be useful is to focus on the things that you should be doing most often.

The list below describes the system, the task and its frequency:

  • Oil system, check level daily
  • Vessel and hull, clear and clean gunnels and drain offs, monthly
  • Electrical system, check battery acid levels, every 2-4 months
  • External engine components, check and adjust fan belts, every 2-5 months
  • Coolant system, keel tank, bleed air from system, every three months
  • Coolant system, check for leaks, every three months
  • External engine components, check bolts are tight on prop shaft couplings, every three months
  • Steering and propulsion, check for leaks and corrosion, every three months
  • Hydraulic systems, check level and top up oil, every three months
  • Steering and propulsion, check and adjust as necessary, every four months
  • Fuel system, drain off sedimenters/agglomerators, approx. every 100hrs of use
  • Fuel system, replace pre-filter, approx. every 150hrs of use

As you can see, some of the tasks depend on how much you cruise – for those covering large parts of the network these will be need to be done more often.

Last Edited: 11 February 2019

photo of a location on the canals
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