Maintenance All Articles


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...

Does an increase in horsepower explain a rise in exhaust temperature?


Question: I have a 1989 38-foot Bayliner with twin 175-hp Hino diesels that have been retrofitted with turbochargers, thus raising each engine to 210 horsepower. As I go from cruise to wide-open throttle (approximately 23 mph at 2800 rpm), turbo exhaust temperatures increase from 700F to 950F on the port engine and 850F on the starboard. When

Garmin’s Tip of the Month, Oct 2011

Air-Conditioning Systems - Part II

Last month we showed you how to determine your boat’s cooling needs as a first step in an air-conditioning installation or refit (see article here).Now that you know how much space you’re going to be cooling and the size of the unit you’ll need to cool it, it’s time to select the

Preserving JFK's yacht "Honey Fitz"

The owner of Honey Fitz made the right call—twice. First, after the former presidential yacht had paid many visits to various repair yards since the mid-1970s, he decided to undertake a full refit. Second, he hired Jim Moores of Moores Marine to do the job.

Sea Hawk BiocopTF

A real-world test of this bottom paint produces some definitive results.

Toward the middle of this past July, I had my Grand Banks 32 Sedan Betty Jane hauled at a local boatyard for two completely different reasons. First, I wanted to facilitate a first-rate wax job. Using a big electric buffer on a comparatively small, faux-planked hull

Intersleek 900 Paint

These days it seems like nearly everyone is talking about going green. Some people are going all out, living in solar-powered homes and driving hybrid cars, while others require a bit more convincing before they hop aboard the tree-hugger

Can switching motor oil viscosity harm my engine?


Question: The boys at the Ko Olina harbor are having a heated discussion concerning motor oil. Since Costco hit town, we’ve all been able to buy Chevron 15W-40 Delo 400 heavy-duty motor oil at ridiculously low prices. But what about the older engines we’ve been using straight 40W Delo 400 and other single-viscosity products in for years? Can we

Vetus Maxwell Tip of the Week

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