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Create a High Quality Vessel Maintenance Schedule


Maintenance schedules are essential to operations because they conserve and distribute resources. Without these detailed plans the tasks required by each of the systems would overwhelm any other sort of organizational format. We know there are some of you who take care of things as they need fixing and if that works all the better since drawing up a good maintenance plan takes a lot of time and effort.

The first thing to do is set the goal for the plan.

What do you want to accomplish? Avoid broken or worn out equipment? Keep up with regulations? Minimize the workload during a busy part of your season? Keep your off season employees busy? Trying to keep the vessel or engine under warranty?

There are many reasons why you want to create this plan and those reasons are as diverse as the vessels they describe.

The basic plan will consist of several different sub plans. There will be a sub plan for each system and the sub plan might consist of many parts.

For example; if we look at the engine it contains mechanical, electrical, cooling, exhaust, fuel, and control systems. If we expand our example to the whole drive line you can see how the systems and components add up.

Now it’s time to gather information.

While you were crawling around in the dark crevices of your vessel you should have been documenting information plates and model numbers. The easiest way is with a digital camera, that way dirty or faded numbers can be resurrected in a photo processing program.

Now you need to sort through your existing equipment documentation for each piece of equipment on the boat or in a particular system. If you kept receipts and manuals this task is much easier.

A sincere good luck to you if the boat was purchased without documentation. You can always feel free to email at the address on our homepage.

In each of these manuals there will be some information that details the recommended maintenance procedures for the device.

For example if you use centrifugal separators in your fuel system there will be advice to check or change the filters at a certain hour interval. There might also be a recommendation to change the bowl gasket so read all of the instructions.

You have, of course, read all of the manuals that came with your equipment, right?

Make notes about anything that is a consumable or needs occasional replacement. If you are ambitious you can consider maintenance for the life of the vessel. This is not recommended since plans and regulations change.

Bring the Plan Together

Now is the time to bring all of this information together. You can use a notebook but a spreadsheet is the best choice if it doesn’t frustrate you to the point of screaming.

A nice choice that is easy and available to the technologically challenged is a simple calendar program. It’s easy to share and change and will be available when the hard copy is in a snow covered boat.

So now find the times that are appropriate and available for the work to be done. Add them to the calendar system by system and shift things around as there are conflicts.

If you have an inspection schedule or other hard deadline put these on the calendar too so everything is complete by the appointment time.

You will be rewarded for your hard work with an anxiety proof plan that becomes better and more refined year after year.

Some additional savings can be obtained from your insurer if your plan is certified as safe and effective by a regulatory body like the coast guard or national maritime authority.

Take a look at some of our guides to simple maintenance and vessel upkeep including, choosing the best bottom paint, ideal metal hull repairs, and how to measure a prop.

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