Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Importance of Detail

Do you pay attention to detail? If not, and you are a practical boating enthusiast, I suggest you should. This advice comes from my experience on the water and from building boats.

Only the tiniest hole in a boat, whether above or below the waterline, will allow the ingress of water. Even a small hole in the deck or cabin roof will let water seep under the head lining bringing about dampness and mildew. If sufficient water penetrates the interior, expensive damage can be done to bunk cushions, floor coverings, electronic equipment and items stored in lockers. In a wooden boat permanent damage through rot can lead to costly repairs. Therefore it’s a good idea at the beginning of a season to thoroughly check seals around fittings such as stanchions, cleats, fairleads and chainplates.

When setting up the permanent rigging it pays to ensure that every rigging screw is secured with galvanized wire or locking screws tightened securely. Running rigging should be examined carefully for signs of wear at critical points, such as where a rope or a wire runs through a block or jam cleat. Nothing should be left to chance; all moving parts are subject to wear, and therefore they need periodic examination.

Attention paid to the smallest of details can be beneficial; for example, one should service the ship’s batteries to ensure their terminals are corrosion free and that they have been topped up and charged for optimum efficiency. Such detail can be crucial when reliance is placed upon them for powering depth sounders, navigation lights, VHF radios, electronic steering devices, and cabin lights.

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