Washing the boats

After each and every dive trip where the boats have been used a boat wash is needed. This is normally done the Monday after a trip, either over lunch or at around 5 pm. The trip coordinator will generally inform all trip participants on the weekend or send out an e-mail on Monday with the details.

Boat washing takes normally between 30 minutes and one hour. There are quite a few things to do, but it’s all straightforward. If you’re not sure what to do, the trip coordinator should be able to help.

  1. Ensure engine is tilted up. Remove straps and braces, check them for damages. Put cowling on engine and connect fuel line.
  2. Get the boats out of the shed and roll them onto slope next to the pavilion. Block the wheels with bricks.
  3. Get the hose out and attach it to tap attached to the shed just north of the gear shed.
  4. Fill some buckets with washing-up liquid and water.
  5. Remove sounders (if still attached), sponge off their casings with a moistened cloth to remove any dried on salt. Spray the plug ends with 6-in-1 spray, then store in the cabinet for safe keeping.
  6. If you see water in the fuel filter, drain it into a can or a piece of rag. The filter has a drain plug on the bottom. Do it back up only finger tight. Note: The screw is usually hard to get off – be careful not to break it, it’s all plastic.
  7. Remove anchor ropes from lockers and lay out in the boat (e.g. over the tank rack) so that they will dry. Also hang up mermaid line.
  8. Spray down all parts of the trailer and under the boat. Pay special attention to the springs, axle and the inside of the wheels. Take care not to spray the trailer lights with anything more than gentle hose pressure (they can and do leak if you force water in).
  9. Spray down the inside of the boat and anchors/ropes with hose, to wash off excess salt (avoid boat lights with high pressure hose). Open the bailers with sticks or dive flags to stop water pooling in the boat. Make sure the console doors are closed.
  10. Scrub the white-metal parts (hull, console, splash wall) and the engine with the detergent liquid. Use brush and/or mop. Don’t forget the underside of the boat.
  11. Scrub the pontoons with soapy water.
  12. Wash life jackets and hang in shed to dry.
  13. Refill water bottles.
  14. Rinse all parts of the boat with fresh water. Remove tank racks and hose down the carpet (start from inside the anchor compartment at the bow of boat and work your way down to back) to remove sand, salt and debris.
  15. Remove all rubbish from the consoles (old jelly snakes, sun screen, etc.). Check if battery compartment is dry.
  16. Wipe console with a damp sponge and leave doors open when stored so this area can dry out between trips! Make sure the lower console doors are not lying on the wet carpet, use the mermaid buoy to lift them.
  17. Tilt motor to vertical and remove cowling. Make sure the motor doesn’t touch the ground!
  18. If you see salt spray on the engine the engine can be sprayed off with the hose but with anything more than gentle hose pressure!
  19. Using a damp cloth, wipe off any accumulated salt crystals in the engine. If you can find some, apply Quicksirver Corrosion Guard to the engine.
  20. Attach ear muffs to water inlet on motor and turn tap on.
  21. Start engine, make sure water is being drawn through the cooling system by its exit from the rats tail hose at the back of the engine, and run at idle until the water starts to get a little warm (2 – 5 minutes). Don’t change the gears unless the motor is running.
  22. Using 6-in-1 lubricate:
    • Tilt gauge sensor (black boomerang shaped thing between the motor and the transom).
    • Trailer light connection plug. If this has gotten wet during the trip, undo the case and spray the wires and connectors inside.
    • Jockey wheel handle.
    • The cogs and the ratchet mechanism on the boat winch.
  23. Detach fuel line from the fuel tank. Take all tanks out of the boat and rinse them. If you store them outside the boat, make sure they don’t leak.
  24. Check if there is water and sand in the petrol tanks. If needed pour petrol through filter into bucket and clean petrol tanks.
  25. Grease the grease nipples on the steering control arm (2) and motor fulcrum (2).
  26. Apply a light coating of grease to the steering arm shaft and jockey wheel shaft, and grease the “tow bar hock” (or whatever the name for this thing is).
  27. Drain as much water from the boat as possible by elevating the bow.
  28. Tilt motor up and return boat to shed. Position motor vertically and angled so that the steering arm is in. Make sure the motor doesn’t touch the ground.
  29. Remove cowling.
  30. Check oil in engine, re-fill if needed.
  31. Check and re-grease trailer winch if necessary.
  32. Check boat lights and radio (try communication between boats).
  33. Make sure the main power switch is off.
  34. Check if GPS is stored dry and make a battery check. Replace batteries if necessary (or let trip coordinator know).
  35. Contact the boat officer to let them know the boats have been washed and if there were any problems with them.

NAIAD Qld recommended wiping the pontoons down with armorall (this slows the UV damage of the pontoon fabric) when all washing is complete and the pontoons are dry, but don’t panic if you can’t find any to use.