RIB Maintenance guide 101

Performing regular maintenance on your vessel can help you to avoid the disappointment of your boat failing when out at sea and ultimately save you a fortune on costly repairs. Annual servicing by a professional is essential, but there are a few simple checks you can monitor yourself to keep your RIB in good working order. Take a look at our RIB maintenance checklist below and see if there’s anything you’ve been missing in your regular  maintenance routines.

A guide to RIB cruise routes

Cleaning

When it comes to maintenance, our top tip for boat owners is to rinse off the boat after use to rid parts of saltwater. It can be easy to forget, but saltwater can be incredibly damaging to your vessel overtime, that’s why it’s essential to flush fresh water through your engine after every use. This single action will be integral to preserving and ensuring the longevity of your outboard engine. Follow the guidance notes provided by the manufacturer of your particular model.

Treat inflatable tubes with cleaning and aftercare products to remove any mould and other growths, including oxidation, stains and preventing UV damage.

Bilge pumps are designed to remove any saltwater that makes its way inside your boat and prevents corrosion to the inside of your vessel. That’s why it’s easy to forget about them during your maintenance checks, however it’s equally as important to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned as saltwater will eventually damage them.

Wear and tear

Another key maintenance check is to review the entire vessel for any signs of wear and tear. Assess the hull for signs of damage and repair any knicks or scratches with gelcoat. It’s also important to check hoses and connections for leaks or cracks and repair to prevent further damage.

Monitor the condition of the propeller filing down any damaged parts to soften sharp points, and remove any fishing line that has been caught (again preventing more costly, significant damage should water find its way into your gearbox).

 

Engine and fuel checks

It is advisable to book in for regular engine servicing with a specialist, but simple checks to review yourself include checking the engine oil level and colour. If the oil ever appears white, this means you have water in it and it’s imperative you don’t start the engine and have it serviced immediately.

It is also essential that you flush the engine after each cruise with clean water (the importance of which cannot be emphasised enough), to prevent corrosion caused by the build-up of salt which can damage the engine itself and block the cooling systems (which can lead to further engine damage).

Check fuel levels and consider carrying a reserve tank. Fuel consumption varies considerably depending on weather conditions, so extra fuel never goes amiss on a particularly windy or rough day at sea.

Protect your vessel

Cover your RIB to prevent further dampness caused by rain, but with a cover made from a fabric which still allows air circulation so your boat can continue to dry out. If your boat is safely stowed away inside, consider using a dehumidifier to help the drying process and remember to also rinse off seat covers and re-lubricate zips.

Be prepared with an adequate toolkit


Ensuring you have an adequate toolkit and that the equipment you carry is in working order is essential for a safe and trouble-free boating expedition. To find out what you should be carrying on board, take a look at our blog.

Additional measures

Top up your boat’s paint coat every season with anti foul paint. Using anti foul paint is a special kind of paint many boat owners use because it stops any marine growth from sticking to the underside of your vessel and causing discolouration or damage.

It is also vital that you keep your trailer maintained. Towing your RIB is something many of us take for granted, but it isn’t worth risking your pride and joy for the sake of forgetting to replace an inexpensive breakaway cable. Your trailer brakes are just as susceptible to saltwater damage as elements on the boat, so be sure to also rinse off the brakes with freshwater to prevent these seizing up. Flushing kits are available to take the strain out of this job, but aren’t essential. You may also want to consider using lubricant to ensure all connections remain flexible. not forgetting the grease nipple on the wheel hubs.

 

Since 2019, we’ve been collecting your feedback from our boat safety quiz to better understand how well boat owners know their stuff. To make things a little easier we’ve created a helpful visual guide you can always refer back to when it comes to boat safety essentials.

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Header Image Source: RIBeye

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