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Captain's Blog

Footy's over - BOATING season starts

  Published October 3rd, 2015

When the final siren is sounded from the MCG this coming Saturday afternoon following what looks to be a ripper AFL Grand Final match up between the Hawks and Eagles, it formally marks the begining of the new boating season for us Victorian's.

After celebrations of whether your team has won the flag or has finished well-below expectations, the big questions remains are you and your boat ready?

Springtime is the universal call for all boaties to get on the water, some boaties say "you can even smell it in the air". The Snapper season is near opening. Keep an eye on the blossoming 'tea-tree', as this marks the official start of the snapper season for boaties here in Melbourne.

Now is the time to get your boat ready for the summer season ahead. Don't leave it until the last minute and please don't say "she'll be right" because the safety of you and your family depend on it.

It's easy to get your boat ready by following these simple tips to de-winterize after a long and cold winter in storage; ether in the garage or in the water.

If you did winterize your boat, you saved yourself some spring boat prep time and possible headaches, which means the road between your boat and the water is much shorter!

Although it is always best to winterize a boat before putting it into storage, if you didn't, don't worry. You can perform those tasks now for the spring commissioning.

Here's how:

1. Have your manufacturer's manual handy
If you have a copy, great. If you don't, it would be a good idea to get one (Google search may help).

You'll need it to replace fluids and parts properly. Never take apart anything without consulting the manual first unless you know how!

2. The engine is the heart of the boat
Since it will most like take the greatest amount of time and be the messiest, start here. If you didn't change the oil at the end of last season, do so now. After running your boat all summer, it's likely that water, acids and other byproducts have built up. It's important to change the oil to prevent corrosion and excessive wear which can lead to loss of power, poor fuel economy or engine failure. At the same time you change the oil, be sure to change the oil filter. Change the oil in transmission or the outboard's lower unit as well.

Next, flush the cooling system and replace the antifreeze with a 50/50 ratio of water to coolant.

Check your fuel lines for leaks, loose clamps and/or corroded lines. You must also check fuel supply and ensure it's not stale. If in doubt, replce your fuel on board with a fresh supply and safely dispose. Ask your fuel supplier and/or marine mechanic to assist as you may be able to just add a fuel treatment to the tank.

Finally, replace the batteries and perform a thorough engine test. Poorly charged batteries due to the lack of use, are a common problem. You don't want to be stranded off shore.

3. Inspect the covers, clears & marine vinyl
Check your bimini top, seats, covers, and other vinyl and canvas items for tears, mildew, bird poo and dirt. Repair tears and holes, and then clean with the proper cleaner for canvas and vinyl. The acid in bird poo, will eat into your covers, if left unattended.

4. Inspect the hull
Carefully inspect the hull for blisters or other chips and cracks as well as for chalky residue. If you find blisters, repair them. If the boat's hull is chalky, it could indicate oxidation. Determine the level of oxidation, and then restore the boat's gelcoat to its original luster. Then, throughout the summer, follow the gelcoat maintenance plan to keep oxidation at bay.

5. Clean. polish and wax your hull
First clean your boat's exterior using a marine safe cleaner from a marine supply store. Then, apply a fresh coat of wax according to the instructions in the gelcoat maintenance plan.

6. Inspect the windshield wipers
Inspect and replace windshield wipers if necessary. If the wipers are in good condition, apply a rubber lubricant to protect them from the harsh marine environment. Some experts recommend stowing wipers until you need them to keep them in good condition longer.

7. Polish the metal, stainless steel and teak
Known as brightwork, metal and teak enhance the look of your boat. If it's dull, your boat will not have the same visual appeal as it might otherwise have. Also, prolonged neglect of metal and teak can result in pitting and eventually compromise the integrity of the materials and their intended use. To protect the metal, use metal polisher like Never Dull. For teak, it is usually recommended that you sand it and then apply stain and varnish.

8. Test all your electronics
Set up all the electronics and do a thorough test to be sure they are all working properly. Test the running lights, bilge, exhaust blower, radio, GPS, compass, depth sounder/fish finder and any other marine electronics fitted to your boat.

9. Clean the interior and check your bedding.
Whether you have an open deck or cabin with full galley, clean the area thoroughly to remove dirt and debris. Check the fridges, freezers and ice-chests for mould and mildew.

You might want to get all of your bedding and towels laundered at this time. Chances are, you've possibly forgetten about them and they are now a bit stinky and could do with a freshen up.

10. Check your safety gear
Flares have an expiry date and you must not carry flares on board that have expired. Check your batteries in your torches to ensure good operation; dead batteries are a common problem. Check the safe fitting of your life jackets, especially on the kids - as they may have grown out of them from last season. Just like school uniforms, life jackets won't last forever.  

Ensure you have good quality ropes onboard for mooring purposes and towing if you need to assist another vessel or worse still, if you need to be rescued. 

If you are carring an EPIRB, check the registration details are still correct.

11. In water boats
For all boats kept in the water all year-round, you will need to check the underwater Sacrificial Anodes and check the condition of the Anitfoul. Sadly, unless you're prepared to dive under the boat in the cold winter waters, it's best that you call our Service Centre and have your boat slipped, pressure cleaned and checked.

During this time, our Service Centre will thoroughly check your boats Anodes and Antifoul to ensure they will both last over summer. If not, now is the time to attend to these important items, otherwise you may miss the best of summer boating or worse still, be replacing those costly items such as; props, drives and shafts which will all corrode if left unattended.

One phone call does it all......
Alternatively, you can simply call our Service Centre here at the marina and book your boat in for her annual service. That way you can leave it to the experts and it's hassle free!!! 

Call us now.... 03) 9534-8213

 

Seek Expert Advice...
In the past 13 years we’ve literally sold hundreds of boats, we are an industry Accredited Boat Dealer and have long term fuel contracts with the Water Police and the Coast Guard. Every year we service and repair over 300 boats in our fully equipped workshop, by our team of trained mechanics and marine professionals.

In working with that many boats and that many owners, we’ve realized there are three main problems that exist:

1.   Boat owners are busy people, what they don’t want is a boat soaking up more of their time.
2.   Owners don't have the required expertise to problem solve, which makes them nervous about owning a boat.
3.   Owners hate having to juggle and coordinate all the different marine services on offer. What we’ve found is that they want to trust just one company, to do everything 'boating' for them.

So that’s exactly where we fit in.....

You can trust our team, to take the hassle out of boating. Our expertise takes all of the worry out of boat ownership. From the time you purchase your boat from us we’ll even teach you and your family how to drive the boat, leaving you feeling confident and comfortable on the water. We provide ongoing service and repairs so your boat is safe and our regular cleaning and washing service ensures that your boat is always looks great and is well-cared for.

The reason we are so passionate about boating is there has never been a better time to get on the water, sharing quality time with family and friends. You know it's all about lifestyle because life is too short.

You can trust us with your safety; you can rely on us to look after all of your boating needs. We just want you to enjoy quality time, so let us take care of the rest.

Our goal is to make our customers feel at ease and excited about boat ownership. We want your precious time on the water to be both complete and pleasurable.

We are completely committed to Boat Ownership, after all; 
 “Life Is Better With A Boat”.
 

Darren Finkelstein - 'The Boat Guy'

Darren Finkelstein is 'The Boat Guy' with over 35 years of boating experience to share.

Author of the award winning bestseller:
Honey, let's buy a BOAT! and follow up sequel; Honey, let's go BOATING! which highlights the BEST 101 places to go boating in Victoria. 

Considered by many as an industry expert, Darren has an active media presence. You will often hear him on radio, view his video blogs, read his articles or watch him on the international stage at boat shows, corporate and lifestyle events.  

Together with business partner Andrew Rose, they buy, sell, service, repair, fuel and maintain power boats offering advice to prospective boat owners around Australia as Dealer Principals and co-owners of St Kilda Boat Sales an industry accredited dealer and broker with an enviable client base. St Kilda Boat Sales has boat sales offices located at both St Kilda Marina and Wyndham Harbour.

Listen to Darren on radio 3AW as he delivers his unique Beach N' Bay reports <live> this summer. Watch Darren on Foxtel and ch7 presenting for the TV show "All About Boats", he is an on-screen presenter and ambassador for "Life's Better With A Boat" campaign for the Boating Industry Association. In addition, Darren is the proud boating ambassador for Wyndham Harbour, Melbourne’s new centre for recreational boating on the north-western side of Port Phillip.

Connect and get social with Darren: Twitter Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+

Perfect Father's Day present

A must read for novice boaties, old salts, your partner and the kids...

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