With long days and summer holidays beckoning, summer is the ideal time for getting out on the water for a spot of boating. However, the season brings with it some particular challenges for boaters and their craft, so it certainly helps to be prepared.
With summer comes the rainy season, and the wind and rain can make boating manoeuvres difficult, whether through reduced visibility or compromised handling. This can be especially challenging during docking or mooring manoeuvres.
Yet it is not only out on the water where a boat will require more attention during the summer months. With all the rain around, it is vital that boats be well prepared in order to avoid a couple of nasty surprises later during the season.
Water could potentially enter the bilge areas through leaking hatches, poorly sealed fittings or fasteners, broken or loose drain hoses or scuppers, just to name a few.
A boat should be thoroughly inspected for leaks and all necessary repairs should be made to prevent water from entering the bilge areas. It is also vital that bilge pumps and their switches are in proper working order.
It is suggested that any boat that is docked or moored should have at least two bilge pumps with automatic float switches for redundancy, as well as an onboard battery charger or even a small solar battery maintainer to keep the batteries at full capacity should the pumps have to run for an extended period of time.
Should a leak occur, the only thing keeping a boat afloat is the bilge pump, so it is well worth investing in a good quality bilge pump. Also check that the boat’s batteries are fully charged and in good working order. Also check the function of the bilge pump often, especially before taking the boat out on the water.
After all, the last thing you want is to get to your boat for a fun weekend on the water and find it sitting very low in the water or, even worse, rather close to the bottom of the canal.
Of course, summer is hurricane season in Cayman, so it pays to keep a close eye on the weather as knowing the weather and taking steps to avoid it can be a life saver.
If your boat is moored in an exposed location have it moved to a more protected area, or dry docked as soon as possible. Make sure all the lines are of proper size for the boat.
The beating rain and very ample sunshine of summer can also be quite tough on a boat, so keeping the exterior finish well waxed with a product containing UV inhibitors is vital.
Upholstery should also be treated with a UV protectant, or even better, stored inside where possible.
Even though putting a cover on the boat might seem like a good plan, a badly designed cover could actually make matters worse as it could trap moisture and promote mildew and mould growth.