Maintenance All Articles


Thruster Installation

Thruster Installation: A new thruster system offers an alternative to a conventional installation. How to install a thruster on your yacht.

Engine-Mount Maintenance

Properly maintained motor mounts result in more than just a vibration-free ride.

Regardless of what fuel prices are doing (wise not to think about it too much), it’s best to get as much as you can from every tank of fuel. Smart boaters are looking closely at their engines and tuning them for maximum efficiency. But based on my experience, it’s a safe bet that even many experienced boaters are overlooking one critical area...

How to exercise an unused engine

Sometimes I don’t have the time to actually take my boat out for two or three weeks at a time, but I do have time to run her Cummins diesels now and again. How often, how long, and at what rpm should I do this?

Eliminate Osmotic Blisters In Your Hull

Adore A Vacuum?

Don’t Laugh. This One From Hotvac Is Designed To Eliminate Those Ugly Osmotic Blisters In Your Hull.

Hull blistering is a fairly common sight in boatyards and, as its name implies, consists of small, unsightly bumps on the boat’s hull below the waterline. Blistering can adversely affect a boat’s fuel efficiency, speed, strength, aesthetics, insurability, and in some cases, safety...

Recreating A Boat's Helm

Tired of those old electronics? Why not give your boat a whole new helm?

Here’s how one boater recreated his boat's helm. With mounting frustration, Pasquale Didonato eased his 48-foot Sea Ray Sedan Bridge out of the C&D canal toward the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay. It was well after dark, and a raster-scan radar screen gave his countenance a spooky glow as he leaned to the right in a half-crouch to check his lineup on an upcoming set of buoys...

What You Need To Know About Propeller Options

The right set of propellers can smooth the ride and increase efficiency.

Cruising in your boat is a pleasant experience. If you could make it more enjoyable while spending less money than you might expect—and throw in some fuel savings while you’re at it—it would be a no-brainer, right? Then you should consider upgrading your propellers.

Filling Batteries With Liquor Bottles

Garmin’s Tip of the Month, April 2012

Refilling my batteries tends to be a tough job because they are hard to get at. What I use to make the job easier is an empty 1.75-liter plastic liquor bottle. The plastic insert in the neck makes pouring the water into the battery cavities both easy and accurate. And to refill the bottle I simply remove the plastic insert with a screwdriver, pour in the water, and then snap the insert back on. The best part, though, is that I get to enjoy the liquor in the bottle as I empty it.

Handling heavy engine parts

When replacing heavy engine parts such as manifolds, thread two bolts with the heads cut off into the outside bolt holes to line up the gasket and manifold with the exhaust ports. Start the new bolts in the empty holes, and when you have installed several of them hand-tight, remove the studs, thread in the last bolts, and tighten everything. This eliminates the difficult job of lining up the gasket and the manifold with the exhaust ports. It also makes manhandling heavy parts a one-person job.

Illustration by Steve Karp

Keeping your boat smelling fresh through the winter

Garmin’s Tip of the Month, Feb 2012

When winterizing your freshwater system, save the antifreeze jugs, cut off the top half and dry them out. Add about one pound of baking soda to each and place them around the inside of your boat for the winter. They will absorb odors, and when you uncover your boat in the spring, she won’t have that musty smell. Be sure to place jugs in your refrigerator, ice maker, lockers, and anywhere else odors typically accumulate.


Interceptors can sharpen up a boat’s performance and efficiency.

For decades trim tabs have been the popular way to adjust a boat’s running angle. They work well on boats up to about 45 feet but on larger boats, you need some seriously big plates, which can create drag and don’t always deploy quickly. That’s why lately many manufacturers are turning to interceptors, such as those manufactured by Humphree and Naiad Dynamics. These blades mount to the transom and drop down vertically into the flow of water coming from beneath the hull to create lift without producing the drag of conventional tabs.

Tip for boaters: Smart use of your smart phone

Carry frequently used maintenance part numbers, to-do lists, and shopping lists with you on your smartphone. Use any number of available free apps (try TurboList for the Droid and Easy Note for the iPhone) that will allow you to keep everything in either simple or categorized form. Or go a step further and use your smartphone calendar

Auxiliary Propulsion Unit

Finally retired, you’re on a weeklong cruise aboard your trawler, just you and your wife. Suddenly your only engine quits, and you can’t restart it. Your peaceful cruise is over, and your wife is asking, “Are we stuck in the middle of nowhere?”

Engine unresponsive after idling


Question: I have a 39-foot Bertram with twin Volvo Penta TAMD74P-A diesel inboards. The starboard engine, if left idling for a couple of minutes—say, while I’m fishing over a wreck—will not rev up afterwards. Instead, it takes 30 to 40 seconds to respond. The fuel filters are new, and the fuel onboard is clean. Do you have any

Hot Water on Your Boat

If you’re on an extended cruise, you can never have enough of two things: privacy and hot water. Both problems can be solved, but the solutions are different in scope. You can take care of the former by purchasing a bigger boat. The hot-water issue is easier and less costly to...

Garmin’s Tip of the Month, Nov 2011

When you’re winterizing your freshwater system and want to prevent messy spurts and sprays that occur when you’ve finished running antifreeze through the lines to the sinks, and the tank and pump are almost dry, cut the bottom out of a few

How do I care for my unused engine?

I plan on being away from my boat for two to three months and during that time, I plan on having someone periodically run my diesels dockside...

Vetus Maxwell Tip of the Week

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