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Boats are a significant investment, and one that many people take seriously. When it comes to boat accidents or mishaps, human error is always at play. Even with all the safety precautions, it’s still easy to make dangerous mistakes. When you are in a hurry, it’s easy to forget about your surroundings and not pay attention to what you are doing. Here are five things boat owners sometimes fail to do that could lead to preventable damage.
1. Overloading The Boat
It is extremely dangerous to overload a boat, whether with passengers, equipment, or both. This is a big problem because it usually ends up being a safety hazard for everyone on board. The load-carrying capacity and volume of a boat are determined by the weight and volume of the vessel’s materials. A boat is stable if it does not exceed its load-carrying capacity. The more weight we put on a boat, the more likely it is to be pushed off balance and become unstable. Overloading a boat puts a lot of stress on the boat’s motor as well as its hull, which can lead to leaks or worse yet capsizing! It’s more than just inconvenient when this happens because more often than not, those on board will need immediate assistance.
A boat owner should follow these guidelines to avoid overloading a boat:
- Determining the appropriate load weight for the sea conditions
- The weight of each person onboard should be calculated based on the person’s height, not their weight.
- The right pump should be used in order to determine the buoyancy of an object or an item.
- The weight of every object in the boat should be recorded separately and added up
- Ensure that the weight on board is within the capacity of the boat.
2. Ignoring New Boat Vibrations
This is a common mistake boaters make. Your boat should run smoothly on the water. If you’re experiencing more than usual vibrations, that is not something to ignore. Many times, it’s an indication that something is wrong with the propeller. With continuous changes in vibrations and damage to the propeller, your boat could experience catastrophic failure. And you don’t want that to happen when you’re out on the water. What should you do instead? After every trip, always inspect the propeller. If it’s minor scrapes, you can try flattening it out. Then test it out. If that does not work (and you’re still experiencing vibrations), you should change the propeller.
3. Using Car Parts As Replacements for Boat Parts
It may look attractive to use some basic car engine parts as replacements for your boat engine. After all, it costs much less. This, however, is a mistake people make when trying to save on maintenance costs and could be a disaster. For example, common car parts like starters are a replacement that some boaters try when trying to save cost. What they don’t know is that these car starters actually fire on boats each year. This is because car starters are not spark protected. Used frequently enough could lead to an explosion. Your desire to save costs could end up being the worst decision and cost you much more. What to do instead? Always buy original boat parts. It looks like it costs more upfront but is ultimately cheaper than the alternative – destroying your boat long term.
4. Not checking the Fuel System Regularly
The fuel system is a critical part of your boat engine. It’s important to keep the fuel system clean for your boat to run efficiently in the water. However, this is an area many boat owners forget until real damage is done. Fuel leaks, rust buildup and loose gas tanks can all lead to problems in your boats fuel system. Fuel leaks can lead to a fire hazard. Rust buildup prevents gas tanks from sealing properly, leading to the release of fuel. Loose gas tanks can also leak fuel. Also, while your boat is in the water, it’s easy for foreign objects to make their way into your fuel system. Bottom line, ignoring your fuel system is an expensive mistake you DO NOT want to make. The only way to prevent this is to regularly check the Fuel System.
How do clean out your fuel system
When it comes to cleaning out your fuel system, you’ve got 2 options:
- You can do it yourself OR
- You can have a boat maintenance/repair company help you out.
If you’re going the do-it-yourself route, it’s important to note that every boat is built differently. You should check your boat’s manual first and see what safety tips and instructions they have regarding the fuel system.
Here are the steps to take:
- Drain out the fuel & any build up in the fuel tank
- Isolate the fuel line from the tank to the engine
- Change the fuel filter
- Wash out your fuel tank with a hot pressure washer and sea foam cleaner.
- Reattach the fuel lines. Make sure it’s all set up correctly
- Fill up the tank with fuel, start the engine and let it run.
Going through this process will help you keep your tank clean and identify if there are any fuel leaks.
5. Overlooking or Ignoring Corrosion
Corrosion happens when two metals are immersed in a conductive solution (like sea water) and are connected electronically. This causes the one metal to corrode. In a boat, it’s easy to see corrosion happening and overlook it as “normal”. This is a bad idea. Corrosion can harm your boat, the propeller and even the motor if it isn’t taken care of right. You can take care of this with proper maintenance.
Here are some maintenance tips for you:
- Make sure the electrical system on your boat is in good working condition
- Make sure your battery system is maintained properly
- Also, you can install a galvanic isolator which will help prevent
There you have it.
Why Consistent Maintenance is Important
Everything usually works fine and that can lure boaters to think they can skip or postpone routine maintenance. And then it becomes a habit. And that could lead to damaging and very expensive repairs you didn’t bargain for. Overall, it’s important to pay attention to the overall maintenance of your boat. Periodically and consistently carry out routine maintenance checks. If you can’t do it yourself, get an expert team to help out. What other expensive mistakes do boaters make?