Boat Maintenance Crash Course

On Sunday Melissa and I spent a few hours poking around Moonrise’s various systems and storage compartments with a young woman that is considering Moonrise as a live aboard. Laura and her daughter, Miss Mia were the subject of an earlier post that included a beautiful day sail : The Sweet Sorrow of Parting

Laura has been doing her homework and asked a lot of great questions. Melissa and I opened just about every compartment and drawer on the boat. We discussed heads, tankage, through hulls, engines and battery systems. In short, Laura got the fifty cent tour.

By the end of three hours we were all pretty drained.  I think Laura’s ears were hurting by the time we were done. We recognized that we were trying to impart years of boat ownership into just a few hours and it made me realize that perhaps a post on some of the more useful marine maintenance books would be handy for  Laura and anyone else looking for solid information on some of the less glamorous aspects of boat ownership.

My first pick for any new boat owner with a disel engine would be [amazon_link id=”0071475354″ target=”_blank” ]Marine Diesel Engines: Maintenance, Troubleshooting, and Repair[/amazon_link]

[amazon_image id=”0071475354″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Marine Diesel Engines: Maintenance, Troubleshooting, and Repair[/amazon_image] Nigel Calder greatly demystifies diesel engines with this book and its excellent photos and drawings. It is a generic overview of the various diesel technologies and systems, including charging, cooling and transmissions. This book along with the maintenance manual for your particular engine makes for great reading at anchorage. Well, at least I think so.

Next up is [amazon_link id=”0071392335″ target=”_blank” ]The 12-Volt Bible for Boats[/amazon_link]. [amazon_image id=”0071392335″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The 12-Volt Bible for Boats[/amazon_image]

Melissa will tell you that I am a little obsessed with the batteries and the electrical system on Moonrise and it is true. I spent many years in electrical communications and instrumentation and I enjoy understanding and improving the electrics on Moonrise. The 12-Volt Bible for Boats is a great primer for understanding and optimizing your 12 volt system. It includes sections on how batteries are made, calculations for wiring sizes and how to charge your batteries in a loving way. Batteries are expensive and if you treat them poorly,  you cannot wring all the value from them. Plus, you really want that power at anchorage for lighting and starting you engine.

Lastly, we spoke about storage. You can never have too much on a boat and as Laura is considering Moonrise as a liveaboard, storage is a concern. One book I would recommend for great storage ideas is [amazon_link id=”0071379630″ target=”_blank” ]Cruising World’s Workbench: 200 Ideas from America’s Leading Cruising Magazine to Improve Your Life Afloat[/amazon_link]

[amazon_image id=”0071379630″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Cruising World’s Workbench: 200 Ideas from America’s Leading Cruising Magazine to Improve Your Life Afloat[/amazon_image]

Bruce Bingham’s illustrations really make this book informative and enjoyable to read. It includes sections on just about every area of boat maintenance, including electronics, stowage, rigging, ventilation, galleys and the head area. If you don’t come up with twelve new ideas for improving your boat with this book, read it again. With feeling.

I’d love to hear from other sailors what their favorite books are. I highlight these for the specific purpose of helping the new boat owner get up to speed with the often complex systems aboard a modern boat. If you have other recommendations, post a comment below.







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