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5 tips to get ready for the boating season

Blue skies. Beautiful waters. There’s no doubt, spring has arrived and it’s time to take the boat out for a trip. But before you do that, make sure your boat is ready to take to the water. Here are 5 tips to be sure that you’re fully prepared:

  1. Check your engine cooling pump.

    Did you remove your water pump impeller when you winterized the boat? Don’t forget to replace it with a new one and remember to always carry a spare: nearly all Xylem Jabsco impeller packs now include fresh gaskets so that you can ensure a good seal when you fit the new impeller.

  2. Make sure there are no leaks in your water pressure system.

    If you winterized your water pressure system at the end of last season, it should not have suffered any frost damage, but you should check that there are no leaks. If the pump is cycling on and off even when no faucet is open, then you have a leak. Control all pipe connections and fix the leak. If the leak is from the pump, then it is time to buy a service kit and replace the wearing parts. If the pump wasn’t correctly winterized, then water may have frozen inside and expanded, possibly causing damage to the pump head. In this case, more serious action will be needed.

  3. Confirm the pressure in your accumulator tanks is correct.

    It’s also a good time to ensure that pressure in your accumulator tank is correct. It should be between 1 and 2 pound per square inch (psi) below the cut-in pressure of the pump’s switch. Accumulator tanks do lose pressure over time and will then become less effective or even completely ineffective. The pressure can be topped up with a bicycle pump on the valve at the top of the tank.

  4. Clean out bilges.

    Check if the bilges are clean and clear of any debris that could block the bilge pumps.  Then verify that the pumps are operating correctly: on automatic pumps, such as the Rule LoPro or Rule Mate models, clean the outer surface of the pumps. Indeed, oil, grease or slime accumulating around the pump body can interfere with the correct operation of the electronic sensors on these pumps, and cause them to operate when the bilge is dry. It’s also a good time to ask yourself if you have sufficient capacity in your bilge pump set up: is it still suitable for the type of sailing you plan on doing this season? If not, then it’s time to upgrade. A couple of options to consider:

    ·  Rule submersible bilge pumps.  These pumps offer very high flows for low cost and are easy to install. Also, they’re highly efficient and offer the option of non-return valves to prevent backflow (from water still in the discharge pipe) into the bilge when you stop pumping.
    ·  New Rule Dry Bilge Pump. This new pump operates separately from the main bilge pumps and removes almost all of the water from the bottom of the bilge.   

  5. Check your toilet systems and, if needed, service them.

    Now is the time to check that your boat’s toilet systems are working correctly and service them as necessary. Your local chandler will have stock of service kits and complete replacement pump assemblies to make this job a breeze. Squeaking pumps on manual toilets may be fixed with a little cooking oil dropped in the pan and pumped through. If the problem persists, the rubber components may need replacing. You may also consider upgrading from a manual toilet to an electric one. The Jabsco Lite Flush toilet is designed to make this as simple as possible, using the same mounting holes and pipe runs that are used for your existing manual toilet. All you need to add is a power supply and your comfort onboard will be elevated to a new level. Modern boat electrical systems can easily handle an upgrade like this, eliminating the anxiety that once existed about electric toilets on most boats. And your crew will love you for it!

There you go, we’ve listed a few tips, but if you’re interested in learning more, be sure to check out our collection of do-it-yourself videos with step-by-step instructions showing how to fix several Jabsco or Rule products.

You’re ready. Sit back and relax…or sail off! Here’s to another great season on the water.

by Steve Tilders