Top 5 dinghy maintenance tips

Dinghy maintenance is important if you want to get as many years as possible out of your vessel. Whether you’re competing in a race or just taking your dinghy out to explore the water, you’ll want to make sure it’s in tip top shape. Here are five dinghy maintenance tips to get you started.

 

1. Varnishing

If you have a wooden dinghy, regularly varnishing it will help you maintain a flawless finish and keep your vessel looking as good as new.  You should only varnish areas that aren’t painted, with a marine grade varnish offering UV protection.

The best time to varnish is in the summer, as it’s likely to dry quicker in the warmer weather and this way, you’ll be able to build up a couple of coats at a time. Be sure to make regular monthly inspections for any chips or cracks because once the water starts to penetrate your dinghy it will break down quite quickly. When it comes to quality varnishing, preparation is key. Read more about varnishing your boat here.

 

2. Deck gear

It is essential that all moving parts are fully operational. Go through all of the blocks, cleats and other equipment and test that every part is working as it should. Also check ropes, lines and shrouds for signs of chafe and degradation. If a rope is rubbing then find out why before replacing and address the cause. For maintenance of your dinghy’s deck it's a good idea to consult the relevant manual for your specific vessel, which can often be found online. 

 

3. Safety equipment

Maintaining your safety equipment is one of the most important things to do while owning a boat. As the dinghy owner, the safety of yourself and any crew members is entirely in your hands so you need to make sure that you’re regularly inspecting your safety equipment to check it’s all in good condition and within their expiry date period. Depending on the size and type of dinghy, you'll generally need to have the following equipment: a buoyancy aid for every passenger, a paddle, a towline, an emergency tool kit, a spare bungee cord, hand-held orange flares, a dayglo flag and a whistle or canister fog horn. Check it's all in good working condition before every trip. For reminders on when your equipment is due to be replaced, check out MyBoat, an online portal to store your documents and renewal dates. 

 

4. Sails

Examine your sails every so often and check for any potential damage or pulled stitching. If you have laminate sails, make sure the film isn’t breaking down anywhere as this is a sign that the sail is beginning to reach the end of its life.

 

5. Budgeting for maintenance

It’s a good idea to set aside funds for the upkeep of your dinghy otherwise you might not be able to take to the water for a while should anything need repairing. Do some research and see, roughly, how long the various parts of your dinghy are expected to last and how often you should replace them. Regular maintenance will not only mean your dinghy will last longer, but it’ll also ensure that you’re safe on the water.

 

Want to learn more about dinghy safety? Download our Sea Safety with your Dinghy eBook!

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