Much like your outboard (or car) engine, any machine or equipment you use regularly will require periodic inspection and potential maintenance to ensure it functions properly.
This includes winches, windlasses, trolling motors, tillers, outboard motors, pumps, generators, diesel heaters and battery and electronics systems.
This inspection and maintenance will involve cleaning and inspecting the equipment for any signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, corrosion, or worn bearings. If any issues are detected, they should be taken care of promptly to prevent further damage or failure of the equipment.
Failure to do so can damage the product, causing downtime and loss of use of the equipment. In addition, most warranties stipulate regular inspection and maintenance, and the Consumer Guarantees Act also stipulates that items must be used and maintained per the supplier's recommendations.
Even equipment considered 'low or no maintenance' still requires regular inspection to ensure no unexpected fault or product damage has occurred. This routine inspection will avoid compounding damage to the rest of your setup.
The Corrosive Killer
While much Marine Equipment, by design, has high corrosion and water resistance levels, most will only be partially corrosion-resistant or waterproof. Design considerations and practical realities mean most products are still potentially susceptible to the odd water ingress - especially when subjected to rough weather or, left outside and not maintained between uses.
Corrosion only takes a bit of salt water to get started - and once it has, it will continue to spread - potentially damaging sensitive electronics and causing excessive wear on gears and metal parts. Regular inspections and maintenance can help catch this before it becomes a significant issue and parts start failing on you.
It's much better to return with a bit of corrosion caught during regular inspections. It can be cleaned off, and the unit put back into commission without much issue. If left too long - it might not be repairable or retrievable.
If the equipment is used in a marine or industrial setting, it will be subjected to harsh environments that will cause it to deteriorate (corrosion being a significant factor) more quickly. Regular maintenance and inspection are essential to ensure the equipment remains in good working condition.
It is best to consult the manufacturer's instructions or seek the advice of a qualified technician. They can advise you on the appropriate maintenance schedule and procedures based on your situation. For a general guideline, we would suggest the minimum:
- Wash down any device subjected to salt water immediately after use.
- Inspect the unit for damage before each use.
- Inspect the unit for wear and tear, apply appropriate lubrication and check for potential gasket/seal damage every six months.
- Have the unit serviced by a qualified technician every year.
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