There’s a lot to cover before you launch your boat for the first time this season, especially if you’ve got a larger vessel with multiple systems. No doubt you’re working your way through a list of engine maintenance and repair tasks, inspecting the steering system, checking the hull, and so on and so forth.
At SeaStar Solutions, makers of Shield Hoses, we want to remind you to pay attention to all those hoses, too.
Boats these days have a lot of plumbing. You’ve got fuel system hoses, bilge pump hoses, cooling and exhaust hoses, hoses for bait tanks, hoses for your marine head and holding tanks, and more. Failure of any of these systems would surely spoil a day on the water, and may even lead to a dangerous situation onboard, so inspection and replacement of worn hoses are essential steps in getting your boat ready for the season.
Before you begin, think through all the plumbing on your boat and make a check list. Where do your fuel hoses run, from the filler to the fuel tank and from the tank to the engine, including any fuel line filters along the way. Where is your bilge pump and where does the hose run. What hoses connect to your engine. How are your bait tanks plumbed, as well as your head. Don’t forget to double check any through-hull fittings.
Once you’ve got a list of hoses to check, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. The hardest part of the job may be gaining access to these various hoses, so be prepared to remove access plates and reach into some hidden places. In addition to any necessary tools, a good flashlight is essential.
Inspection should focus on two key things, the condition of the hoses and the state of the connections.
Check the clamps and fittings, looking for any visible leaks or signs of excess corrosion. Tighten up – but do not overtighten – any loose fittings. Common automotive-grade hose clamps are subject to corrosion, so be prepared to replace any that look rusted with new, stainless steel clamps. (Shields offers a wide range of marine grade 316 stainless steel non-perforated clamps that are far superior to the more common perforated variety.)
When it comes to hoses, start with a visual inspection. You’re looking for any visible cracks, leaks or worn spots where hoses might have rubbed against other components. Next, you need to get your hands on the hose and feel for any bulges. Squeeze the hose and search for any soft spots – or hard spots. (Fuel hoses warrant special attention, given the susceptibility of older hoses to the damaging effects of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.) Any hoses with cracks, leaks, soft or mushy spots or hardened sections need to be replaced.
When replacing hoses, be sure to get the proper Shield Hose for the specific application. You’ll need to know the length, inside diameter and type of hose you’re replacing. Different systems require different types of hose construction. If you’re not sure about which hose to use, contact your dealer, service tech or contact SeaStar Solutions technical service department.
Your marine service dealer has access to a complete inventory of Shields Hoses for every onboard system so you can be confident your boat’s plumbing is in the best possible condition. For more information on SeaStar Solutions’ Shield Hoses, please visit http://www.seastarsolutions.com/products/hose/.