10 Motor Yacht Maintenance Tips

These 10 motor yacht maintenance tips will save you a world of trouble when you are out on the water, in the middle of nowhere. The last thing you need is a stalled engine, or worse, a ruptured hose that allows water inside the hull. If you are in a saltwater environment, it is even more important to follow correct protocols, due to the corrosive nature of salt. In all cases, the old saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is directly applicable in motor yacht maintenance.

  1. Do a Static Pre-Trip Maintenance Inspection. This almost goes without saying. Inspect your motor yacht thoroughly for damaged or chafed hoses, damaged or chafed wiring, and severe blisters in the hull. Check your engine for proper oil level, and any severe oil leaks. If anything is found, replace or repair any damaged component.
  2. Do a Dynamic Pre-Trip Maintenance Inspection.  This includes actually running and testing all the systems. Run the engine in your motor yacht, to make sure it runs smoothly. Test all your hydraulic systems. Run your bilge pumps, to make sure they work smoothly. Test your electrical system by turning on the lights, radar, and all other electrical systems to ensure functionality.
  3. Tighten down all bolts in your motor yacht.  Over time, vibration has a habit of loosening nuts and bolts in a motor yacht. With a torque wrench, tighten down all bolts to their specified torque. As a trick, after the nuts and bolts are tightened down, paint a white line (use oil based paint or a paint marker) across the nut and bolt. If the nut loosens, the line will be offset, giving you a visual indication of the loosened nut next time you check.
  4. Look deep inside your motor yacht. Look deep inside the crevices, and the bilge. You never know, your "buddies" could have thrown some dead fish in the bilge just to get at you. Clean out all the deep crevices thoroughly, to remove accumulations of oil, dirt, debris, and the dead fish. By doing so, you will spot any hairline cracks in the hull, or anything else that will compromise the integrity of your motor yacht.
  5. Replace your zinc plates as needed.  Check the zinc plates. If they are gone, or almost gone, replace them as needed.
  6. Maintain your props. When your motor yacht is in dry dock, thoroughly inspect your props. Things to look for are hairline cracks, deep corrosion, and cavitation damage. If damaged, repair or replace as needed.
  7. Wash and clean your motor yacht.  This almost goes without saying as well. No gal wants to step inside a motor yacht that smells like an old gym locker. Give that motor yacht a deep detailing, to clean off the dirt and grime from the decks, the interior, and to remove the dead fish smell.
  8. Do a through Pre-Winter Shutdown. If you put your motor yacht up in dry dock for the winter, do a proper pre-winter shutdown. This includes draining your holding tanks, your fuel tanks, and all other procedures recommended by the manufacturer. Don't do this half-witted or halfway. It will cost you next spring, when you discover a ruptured  holding tank due to water freezing.
  9. Do a through Spring Warm Up. When you are firing up your motor yacht in the spring, do a static inspection first, then test out all the dynamic systems. Any problems should make themselves evident during this phase of maintenance.
  10. Maintain the fuel in your motor yacht.  There has been a lot of controversy on ethanol in fuel destroying gaskets in boat engines. There are a lot of fuel treatments available that will counteract this. Ask the manufacturer of your engine as to what treatments are recommended for your engine. If it is a diesel, then there are anti-gelling agents available, to prevent cold weather gelling.  


J30 Class Association: Diesel Engine Maintenance

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