Coomera, Queensland, Australia: As the Australian weather continues to warm up, many of us are making plans to cruise with family and friends to create more special memories aboard our world-class Riviera or Belize luxury motor yachts.
Of course, the path to commissioning your yacht for the spring and summer seasons will be shorter for those who followed the winter service schedule advice from Riviera Aftermarket, published in Edition 5 of your online Experience magazine.
In this edition, Michael Swain from Riviera Aftermarket & Service offers a simple checklist for motor yacht owners who (and we all lead busy lives) may have deferred much of the work until now.
“Left unchecked, corrosion in particular can spread, moisture can intrude and freeze, lubrication can congeal and neglect can take root over the long, cold months,” said Michael.
“We recommend a thorough spring clean and pre-summer check to avoid any issues and to ensure enjoyable and problem-free weeks and months ahead.”
Change the oil: If you didn’t change the oil at the end of last season, do so now. It’s likely that water, acids and other byproducts have built up so changing the oil will prevent corrosion and excessive wear which can lead to loss of power, poor fuel economy or even engine failure.
Change the oil filter: At the same time you change the oil, be sure to change the oil filter. Change the oil in transmission as well.
Flush the cooling system: Replace the antifreeze with a 50/50 ratio of water to coolant.
Check your fuel lines: Look for leaks, loose clamps and/or corroded lines. You must also check the fuel supply and ensure it’s not stale. If in doubt, replace your fuel with a fresh supply.
Battery check: If in any doubt, replace the batteries and perform a thorough engine test. Poorly charged batteries, due to the lack of use, can cause major issues.
Inspect the covers, clears & marine vinyl: Check for tears, mildew, bird droppings and dirt. Clean with the proper cleaner for canvas and vinyl. The acid in bird droppings, for instance, can eat into covers if left unattended. Also Vaseline the press studs in the clears and silicone-spray zips.
Check cockpit lockers: Water drainage should be checked, along with deck fittings for leaks. Pad eyes also have the potential to leak water inside your yacht, and it is timely to reseal every 5 years.
Inspect the windshield wipers: If the wipers are in good condition, apply a rubber lubricant to protect them from the harsh marine environment. If in doubt, replace them.
Polish the metal, stainless steel and teak: Metal and teak enhance the look of your boat. However, 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. For teak, it is usually recommended that you sand it and then apply stain and varnish. Do not water-blast teak and scrub across the grain when cleaning. One tip is to wet the teak decking before refueling in case of a spill.
Test all 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.
Inspect the hull: Check carefully 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 lustre. Then, throughout the summer, follow the gelcoat maintenance plan to keep oxidation at bay.
Clean, polish and wax your hull: Clean your boat’s exterior using a marine-safe cleaner. Then, apply a fresh coat of wax according to the instructions in the gelcoat maintenance plan.
Check under the water: Check the underwater sacrificial anodes and the condition of the antifoul. The team of experts at Aftermarket is well-equipped to slip, sand and spray your Riviera or Belize with quality antifoul, and perform many other routine checks as part of the service.
Check safety gear: This is, of course, very important. Flares, for instance, 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 too. Check the safe fitting of your life jackets, especially for kids who may have experienced a growth spurt. Also ensure you have good quality ropes onboard for mooring purposes and towing if you need to assist another vessel or, worse, if you need to be rescued. Check the registration details on your EPIRB too.
Clean interior: Clean the cockpit, the galley and saloon. Check the fridges, freezers and ice-chests for mould and mildew.
Owner’s manual: Of course your owners manual also included tips on maintaining your Riviera or Belize. If you don’t have an owners manual, please contact your nearest Riviera dealer who will help you with your specific requirements.
In finishing, Michael says there is one secret to keeping all the systems aboard your luxury motoryacht in ship-shape condition over summer and that is: check everything regularly.
“It’s a simple case of use it or lose it,” he says. “Owners should operate every onboard system at least once a month to ensure everything remains in working order – from ball valves, pumps and winches through to bow and stern thrusters, hydraulic swim platforms and trim tabs.
“We make sure we explain that to all our owners when they bring their yachts here to Riviera Aftermarket & Service at the home of Riviera at Coomera on Australia’s Gold Coast … and it’s vitally important.
“Every Riviera also needs to be run on the plane at least once a month to make the most of the owner’s investment in anti-fouling.
“Getting your yacht up on the plane regularly will prolong the life of the anti-fouling and ensure your hull and engines run as smoothly as possible.”
The team at Riviera Aftermarket is renowned for the quality of its workmanship for everything from anti-fouling and servicing to repairs and fully customised refits – they are specialists in electrical, mechanical, plumbing and shipwright skills.
Their facilities include a 75-tonne travel lift, 6-bay undercover facility; 2-bay enclosed antifoul and spray facility; 5-bay hardstand and 14 marina work berths.
Getting your boat ready for coastal or blue-water cruising is all part of the service.