• Keeping A Service Log For Your Boat!

    You have found the boat of your dreams, and the price is in your range. You decide to schedule a sea trial and survey as you continue to look the boat over. Casually, you ask, "what is the boat's maintenance history?" The seller replies, "the marina takes care of my maintenance." At this point, you still don't know any more about the boat than before you asked the question. Contrast that with the seller who presents you with a service log and discusses the past maintenance history with you.

    Obviously, a service log can be forged and does not guarantee that the boat has been maintained properly or at the recommended intervals. However, it gives you a place to start and can provide an insight into a boat's past. For instance, if you see the zincs have been replaced every six months while the boat has been sitting in fresh water that should ring an alarm bell of potential electrical problems.

    Even today few boat manufacturers supply new customers come with a service log, or if they do it is likely to be inadequate. When purchasing a used boat a service log is even rarer. Regardless of the situation, if you have a boat, you should have a service log!

    This article will give you an idea of the minimum information that should be in your service log. Additional items can be added as you desire. Basically, any maintenance accomplished needs to be accounted for in the log. You should keep it organized, neat and up to date. Not only is this manual a great way for you to keep up with maintenance tasks, but potential buyers, surveyors and brokers will consider it an asset as well.

    I recommend maintaining the service log with your computer where you can easily update and arrange items as needed. Then print a copy and place it in the service log binder. The computer program you choose to manage your log is up to you, but most spreadsheet programs handle the task very well.

    The layout of the log is left up to you but as a minimum, I recommend separate sections for the boat's specifications, maintenance history, winterization procedure, summer preparation procedure and receipts.

    Specifications Page

    The first page of your service log should be the specification's page. This page should contain all the specifications of your boat to include the registration number, boat name; date purchased, and all the maintenance-related part numbers and fluid types. Each time you have to purchase a part or discover a part number you should record it on the specification's page. This will provide you with a quick reference for locating those numbers when it is time to perform routing maintenance.

    Attachment 1068

    Maintenance History

    The next section to include in your service log should be the maintenance history for the boat. This is the place to log both routine and non-routine maintenance items such as oil changes, impeller replacements, component repair, etc. Regardless of whether you perform the maintenance or have someone else to do it, this is the place to log what was accomplished.

    Attachment 1065

    Winterization Section

    The winterization section can be as detailed as you desire. It works well if the items are listed in the order that you perform them, which will allow you to use it as a checklist.

    To determine what items should be in this section, read through the extended storage section of your service manual and begin listing the items that need addressing. Initially compile a list of the general task that will have to be accomplished such as winterize the sterndrive and winterize the engine. When the list is complete, organize the tasks in a logical sequence then expand on the details.

    For my list, I started at one end of the boat and slowly worked my way to the other adding items that the service manual did not mention, i.e. fresh water system, holding tank, raw water wash-downs.

    Attachment 1077

    Summer Prep Section

    For the summer prep section, it helps to review your winterization procedure and look for items to consider when you prepare your boat for launch. For instance, if you fogged your engine, you will have to install new spark plugs before starting the engine. This is also the time to accomplish maintenance tasks for components that have a short shelf life, such as impellers.

    Receipts Section

    In this section, you should keep a photocopy of any maintenance-related receipts. Keep the originals in a safe place at home.

    This should give you good idea of what should be in a service log. Attached you will find an example that can be used as a template to design your own.
    keckles and yazstorage like this.


    Comments 1 Comment
    1. sandradee's Avatar
      sandradee -
      Very Good Info. I am a first time boat owner and this is very helpful.
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