Basic boat maintenance for unclassified boats

How to perform basic boat maintenance and repair on unclassified boats

There are a lot of different types of boats in use today. Boats are generally classified by size and purpose. Most people recognize large commercial barges and trawlers as well as Yachts. Those that are harder to recognize are all the other boats that are considered unclassified.

Unclassified: These are typically smaller boats that are used for personal pleasure such as Bowriders, Cabin cruisers, Deck Boats, Dinghies, Ski Boats, Jet Boats, Multi-Hull Power Boats, Pontoon Boats, Sailboats, Sport fishing boats, Trawlers, and Walkarounds

Smaller boats without classification do not undergo regular surveys and inspections. However, they need every bit as much Boat care and maintenance as any other type of boat.

For the first time boat owner, the care and maintenance of a boat can be a daunting task. Where do you begin? How do you know what to do? How often?  Some boat owners turn to Practical boat owner maintenance guides, boat maintenance software apps, boat maintenance software free etc. There are many aids out there to help you determine what needs to be done and when.

What is boat maintenance?

Boat cleaning and maintenance is vital to the safety and functioning of your boat. Properly maintained boats will avoid the damage caused by:

  • Corrosion:  90% of corrosion problems on a boat corrode from the inside out due to the lack of access and maintenance. Ventilation is important.
  • Contamination and Sediment: The chief problems of mist fuel systems in water intrusion that allow in sediment, which leads to fuel contamination.

While many boaters prefer boat maintenance dyi, there are some tasks that are best left to professionals.  Boat maintenance companies offer a Boat maintenance service agreement or boat maintenance contract. Here is an example of a basic boat maintenance contract template http://www.krenzermarine.com/images/pages/service/2016-2017-winterization-form.jpg

How much does boat maintenance cost?

According to an article in Bloom berg personal finance magazine, Yearly boat maintenance costs average roughly 10% of the cost of the boat. For example, a boat that costs $30,000 would have Boat annual maintenance costs of $3,000. That does not include the cost of storing your boat for the winter.

If you are considering having a professional boat repair maintenance company take care f of your boat, they can likely provide you with a Boat maintenance costs guide that will detail their Boat maintenance expenses to let you know whether their fees will fit within your Boat maintenance budget.

Do you need any specialized Boat maintenance tools?

Having the right tools on board your boat will make it easy for you to fix unexpected problems and take care of basic maintenance chores both on and off the water. You should consider putting together a boat maintenance tool kit for yourself in order to handle the boat maintenance basics. You will want to include:

  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Allen and Hex Key Wrenches
  • Chisels
  • Duct tape
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Slotted screwdrivers
  • Hacksaw
  • Hammer
  • Hemostats to get into small and tight places.
  • Regular vise Grips
  • Spark Plug Socket
  • Utility Knife
  • Vise Grips
  • Wire Strippers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Crimpers
  • Boat measuring tools such as calipers, fold out rulers and tape measurer.
  • Boat battery maintenance charger
  • Boat maintenance accessories like a funnel, drip cups, pads, rags, trash bags,
  • Boat oil changer and universal filter wrench

Either uses a traditional tackle style toolbox or a flexible soft side tool bag to store your tools if you don’t have a tool drawer or cabinet on your boat.

How to conduct basic boat maintenance

There are a lot of boat maintenance requirements. You will want to keep a boat maintenance schedule or a boat maintenance calendar so you do not forget what boat maintenance tasks need to be done and when. Typically, you want to pay attention to Boat maintenance procedures as follows:

(1) Spring Start-up or Pre-Season maintenance such as that detailed in this checklist http://nmma.net/assets/cabinets/Cabinet464/7914_DB14_Spring_Startup_Checklist.pdf

  • Belts, Cables and hoses: Check all belts, cables and hoses to make sure they fit tightly and are not worn, brittle or cracked.
  • Fluid levels: Check to be sure that engine oil power steering fluid, power trim reservoirs and coolant are all filled.
  • Fuel System: Check hoses and connections for wearing, brittleness, and cracking and make sure all clamps and fittings are tightly secured. Test the exhaust; ventilation and engine systems go be sure they are operating, as they should.
  • Electric System: Check all electrical connections to be sure they are tight and do not have any corrosion. Make sure the battery is charges.
  • Propellers and hulls: Check the propeller to be sure it is tightly secured and had no damaged areas.  Inspect the hull for blisters or cracks and be sure the drain plus is tightly in place.
  • Safety Gear: Check to make sure life jackets, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors are all in proper working order.

(2) Semi-Annual maintenance such as that detailed in this checklist http://nmma.net/assets/cabinets/Cabinet464/7915_DB14_Semi-Annual_Checklist.pdf

(3) Winterizing or Post-season maintenance such as that detailed in your boat’s owner’s manual.

Boat battery maintenance and charging: Charge your battery pre-season, semi-annually and post-season and test it to be sure it can hold a charge.

Boat bottom maintenance: Regularly inspect the boat bottom for blisters or cracks and cleaning with an environmentally safe cleaning formula will keep the hull in great condition for years to come.

Boat top maintenance:

  • Boat canvas maintenance: With all of the water and weather conditions that your boat is exposed to, boat canvas and the vinyl enclosures should be cleaned periodically with mild soapy water and rinsed clear. After drying, use a plastic scratch remover to remove light scratches from the vinyl. The canvas should be treated every two years with Fabric Guard to keep it water repellant.
  • Boat canopy maintenance: The boat canopy, also known as the Bimini top, should be cleaned in the same manner as boat canvas.

Boat deck maintenance:  Regularly inspect the deck for cracks and clean it with an environmentally safe cleaning formula. Teak boat decking maintenance may require periodic oiling of the teak wood in order to prevent fading and cracking.

Boat diesel maintenance:

Modern diesel engines on a boat contain many electronic controls and some things on your maintenance checklist for the engine should be left to a mechanic or professional. However, there are certain things that a boat owner should be attentive to.  Each time your run your boat you should check the boat maintenance fuel level, oil level, coolant level, belt tightness and strainer obstruction. The basic parts of the diesel engine that require maintenance are:

Fuel system: Maintaining your diesel engine’s fuel system is not difficult, but it does require diligence to keep it running smoothly. Before you take your boat out for a spin, always check the fuel and engine and marine oil levels and refill if necessary. At least monthly, you will want to drain the water and sediment form the fuel tank to prevent any debris from entering the fuel system and messing up the engine.

At the end of the season, again drain the fuel tank and replace the fuel filter element. Before you change the oil, it is a good idea to treat the fuel system with a diesel fuel stabilizer and a diesel conditioner and anti-gel. Once you have put in the additives, run the boat long enough for the treated fuel to get into the fuel lines, filters and engines. Then, go fill your tanks and screw down the fill cap so your tank will be free of water.

Every 1000 hours, you should have a professional boat mechanic check the fuel injection timing and the fuel injector spray pattern and, if issues are found, repair or replace the fuel injection system.

Lubrication system: Most recreational boats should have oil and filter change at the end of each season.

Get all of your oil changing materials ready to change out the oil- oil change pump, used oil container, oil-absorbent pads and rags, funnel, new oil and filter and a plastic cup. It is a good idea to lay everything down on a piece of plastic so the boat deck etc. doesn’t get messed up with oil.  First, you want to use an oil change pump system that is mounted on a 3.5-gallon tank and has clamped on battery leads and a dipstick tube. Follow the oil change pump system directions to attach it. Remove the dipstick and take the cap off the oil fill. Unscrew the oil filter and break the gasket free. Pump out the old oil into the containers. Wrap the old filter in an absorbent pad and put it in a trash bag. Lubricate the gasket of the new oil filter with fresh oil, fill the filter up and screw it on the engine tightly. Add the new oil in a clean funnel into the oil filter hold. Check it with the dipstick to be sure you don’t overfill it.

Once all the oil change gear is cleared away, start the engine and let it run for a few minutes so you can check for leaks and make sure you have a tight seal.

Cooling system: Most small boats use a freshwater cooling system with a heat exchanger. The freshwater is not really water at all but rather coolant/antifreeze. Every boat owner should do the following to maintain the cooling system properly:

  1. Check the coolant level before you start the engine.
  2. Check and clean the seawater strainer for debris every time you run the engine.
  3. Check the raw water circulation exiting the engine when the engine is running for odd discoloration or evidence of corrosion.
  4. Every 250 hours or at the end of each season, check and have a professional replace the seawater pump impeller.
  5. Every year, have a professional replace the cooling system raw water anodes and clean the heat exchanger.
  6. Every two years, have a professional clean the cooling system seawater passages.

Most boat owners can check, top off and maintain the proper levels of coolant/antifreeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Cleaning the anodes and heat exchange system and replacing the pump, however, is best left to professionals due to the caustic nature of the chemicals involved and the need for specialized tools that most individuals will not have access to.

Air intake and exhaust systems: Not every marine engine has an air filter, but if it does, the air filter need to be cleaned or replaced every year. Since most are made of foam or paper, this is not a difficult task.

The exhaust system is typically made of cast iron and is subject to rust. Every season, the it should be check by removing the rubber hose that connects the cooling hose to the mixer at the elbow of the exhaust riser and inspecting it for evidence of rust. If you find rust, remove the exhaust riser and clean it. Caution! If you see a big build up of rust on the mounting bolts, hardware and manifold of the engine, don’t attempt to clean yourself but hire a professional to avoid damaging the engine.

Electrical system: The electrical system does not require an extensive amount of maintenance but there are a few things you want to check on periodically to avoid any malfunctions. Before you run your boat, each tine you should check the alarm and warning indicators. Every month, the battery should be checked to be sure the electrolyte level is stable. Additionally, the tension on the alternator V-belt should be adjusted. Every year the wiring connectors and the alternator V-belt should be checked for signs of wear or damage. Every 1000 hours, a professional mechanic should inspect the alternator V-belt and replace it, if necessary

Engine cylinder head and block: Whenever you start your boat, check the water to see if you can see and leakage of fuel, oil or coolant. If you notice anything, turn the boat off and tighten all the nuts and bolts on the engine cylinder, filters and hoses and belts. Restart the engine. If that doesn’t stop the problem, you should see a professional mechanic to determine the cause. Every 1000 hours, you should have a professional adjust the intake/exhaust valve clearance.

Every engine manufacturer recommends a specific maintenance schedule for their engine, which is usually based on hours of engine operation time that has been used or specified time intervals given in months i.e. 3 months, 6 months etc.

  • While many of the tasks are the same, small boat engine maintenance is not exactly the same as the boat engine maintenance done for larger boats. It is a good idea to keep boat engine maintenance log so you can track what needs to be done and what has already been done. Here is a boat diesel log excel template as an example. http://mvdirona.com/blog/content/binary/DironaMaintenanceSchedule.xlsx

Boat exterior maintenance: The boat exterior consists of the hull, the boat bottom, the deck and the windows. Generally, regular inspection and cleaning of the boat exterior will prevent erosion or damage of the surface.

Boat hull maintenance:

  • Aluminum boat hull maintenance: One of the biggest problems that can occur with an aluminum boat hull is corrosion.
  • Fiberglass boat hull maintenance: The biggest problem that can occur with a fiberglass hull is blisters.
  • Steel boat hull maintenance: One of the biggest problems that can occur with a steel boat hull is corrosion.
  • Wooden boat hull maintenance: One of the biggest problems with a wooden boat hull is rotting and worms.

Boat fender maintenance: Most boat fenders are made of plastic. Regular inspection and cleaning with an environmentally safe cleaner will prevent erosion or damage to the fenders.

Boat fridge maintenance: Just like you would clean, inspect and maintain the refrigerator in your kitchen, you must also clean, inspect and maintain the refrigerator on your boat. Make sure you use an environmentally safe cleaner.

Boat generator maintenance: Prior to using your boat, it is a good idea to inspect and clean the exterior of the generator. Check to be sure the air inlets/outlets are not blocked and the wires/hoses are not worn or damaged.

Then start the generator up and run it for about 30 minutes and look for any leaks or black smoke in the exhaust and listen for weird noises. Turn on all the electrical loads to check to see that the generator can handle the load. Be sure you can start/stop the generator from all control stations on the boat.

At the end of the season, you will want to prepare the generator for boat storage by wipe clean and oiling any parts that could rust, draining the water lift muffler, removing the impeller, draining the oil and replacing if necessary, and disconnecting the battery.

Boat impeller maintenance: Most manufacturers recommend that the cooling water pump impeller be changed out at least every year to avoid engine damage due to a blocked or malfunctioning water cooling system due to worn, cracked or damaged impeller blades. This job is best left to a professional mechanic.

Outboard maintenance: If your boat has an outboard motor, you will want to do some preventative maintenance to keep your motor running smoothly and safely.

  1. Flush the engine. Always flush out the engine after every use. Just start the engine and let the pump do the flushing.
  2. Check the water pump system. While the pump is running, put your finger in the water stream. If it does not seem that the flow is very strong, there may be debris in the outflow tube. Shut the engine off and insert a small wire piece in the outflow tube and work it back and forth to clear debris. Restart the engine. If the flow still is not strong, it may mean that a new water pump is needed.
  3. Run the engine out of fuel. Disconnect the fuel line and let the engine burn off the fuel from the carburetor. This is a perfect time to check for fuel or water leaks and lubricate all the moving parts.
  4. Drain the tanks at the end of the season and check for fuel-line cracks, worn spots, damage, and tightness of the fuel-line fittings and clamps.

Boat propeller maintenance is essential if you have a stern driven or outboard driven boat. Before you launch your boat, you should inspect the propeller to make sure there are not items attached that would obstruct the proper operation of the propeller. Fishing line can tangle around the propeller shaft prevent the propeller from turning, big nicks or dents can cause the propeller to vibrate and loosen bearings and seals or cause the boat to burn more fuel than it needs to and reduce its performance. During the season, remove the propeller with a deep well socket wrench and liberally apply waterproof grease to the propeller shaft to prevent corrosion. If you notice big impact dents or severely tangled fishing line around the propeller, it is best to have a professional look at the propeller, shaft and gear case and repair any damage.

Boat rudder maintenance: Before you launch your boat, you should inspect the rudder, the rudder shaft and the bearing on dry land for signs of serious wear, rust, cracking or splitting or damage. If you notice anything that does not look right, you should have a professional mechanic look at it. You don’t want to get out on the water and have problems with the steering system.

At least every 5 years, you should have the complete rudder system including the bearings inspected by a professional and either repaired or replaced if issues are found.

Boat throttle maintenance: Your boat should have either a single-lever or twin-lever control system that include cables that transmit signals to the engine and gear case or transmission to control the boat.

Boat toilet maintenance: While your toilet on your board does not require a lot of maintenance, you do not want to skip its maintenance altogether because, over time, they can develop scale deposits in the hoses, channels and valves that cause the toilet to become harder and harder to flush and become calcified and eventually back up. Big mess!

Once a month, pour a pint of white vinegar in the toilet and then give it one flush every 5 minutes about 3 times. Then pump a gallon of fresh water through to flush the lines. Follow that by pouring in ½ cup of mineral oil or marine toilet lubricant and flushing.

Check the hoses for leaks by running a damp cloth over them and smelling for foul odors. Also check the seals around the piston rod to be sure it is tight. Coat the piston rod with a light coating of Teflon grease.

If your toilet smells bad but does not have a leak or just isn’t working right, it may be time to call a professional mechanic to rebuild the toilet.

Maintenance for boat trailer: Don’t neglect the maintenance of your boat trailer. You do not want to have a tire go flat on the highway on your way to the lake. Before you get on the road, run down this basic checklist.

  1. Are the safety chains crossed and connected to your vehicle?
  2. Did you pull the trailer tongue jack up, fold it and lock it?
  3. All of the lug nuts in place and tightened?
  4. Is the tie-down strap securely in place across the back of the boat?
  5. Did you test the brakes and the trailer lights and turn signals?
  6. Does the trailer ball fit snug on the trailer?
  7. Is the fastener pin secure in the vehicle hitch?

After every use, spray down the trailer with clean water or if you are at a clean water lake, back just the trailer into the lake all the way and then pull it out before you seat the boat on it.

Before the season, it is a good idea to spray the U-bolts, nuts, winch gear, trailer jack and leaf springs with a rust inhibitor. Use some marine grease and a grease gun to lightly lubricate the Boat trailer maintenance bearings on the wheel hubs. Check the brake lines for signs of wear or damage and fill the brake fluid to the proper level.

Don’t forget the Boat trailer hitch maintenance. Check the Trailer ball and fastener pins for rust and signs of wear. Use steel wool to rub away rust and spray with a rust inhibitor.

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are a lot of things to do to keep your boat well maintained and if any are neglected, the result could be deadly, in many cases.

A professional boat repair company will be happy to put you on a yearly maintenance contract and take care of all your maintenance needs for you. The added advantage of having professional do it, is that while they are performing the required maintenance, if something is out of the ordinary and requires repair or replacement, they can take care of it right then. The biggest advantage is the time you save. Instead of spending countless hours on maintaining your boat, leave those tasks to the professionals so you can be out on the water fishing or skiing and enjoying your boat. Contact us for more information and customized solutions to your boat maintenance and repair needs.

Holding Class in the American yachting industry

Holding Class – what does this mean for the American yachting industry? Dolfab Metal Fabricators, part of Doll Marine, recently performed repair work aboard custom charter yacht Kipany, a Class charter boat. Jim explains what it means to hold “Class” and what it means for the yacht owner and for the American marine industry. Watch the video or read the transcript below.

Here’s the transcript:

The vessel we’re presently working is interesting setup… the keel was set in […] Savannah, GA […] and they set the keel here, and sent the boat, because of cost reasons, to Europe- to Italy and have it outfitted. So this would enable them o have an American keel, which they were able to hold and keep class.

Class meaning that there’s are different sanctions through the government states that a keel must be set in this country if you’re going to use it for charter in these waters; they want to make sure that it’s an American boat. That way it protects the American industry… you know… “Built in the USA” still has some credence -and it has for a long time- in the marine industry. So it’s a whole different maritime law and sanctions and rules that are governed for the uh, fabrication and the design a lot of the [yacht] repair.

There’s different classifications. Some charter boats are classed out for the Coast Guard, and (like a T-Boat status) there’s different classifications on the amount of people they will allow on the vessel due to the stability of the vessel. So there’s governed and sanctioned and under inspection from the Coast Guard. Another one is American Bureau of Shipping, or ABS, also has a classification. There’s also Lloyds of London, or Lloyd Specs, which is the European class.

With the ABS, the American Bureau of Shipping, they have their own criteria and standards to work from in from the welding. The welders have to be certified by ABS has to be approved and inspected- and as far as the electrical work, all the mechanical work, everybody there has to be ABS certified… and the material they use… the mills that we get the material from… the alloy, the aluminum, and the stainless… anything we use on the boat has to be- have record and classification, it be from a certified mill, from-sanctioned from the American Bureau of Shipping.

So it does cost a little more, in the initial, but in the long run it-it really protect the owner of the vessel; it gives them a good quality product with good common sense fabrication… things that, you know, would normally maybe get overlooked in running a boat building business, this way everybody knows that somebody’s watching over it. It’s like a watchdog.

 

OSHA: Ensuring a healthy work environment for happy employees

 

Dolfab Metal Fabricators is OSHA Authorized to ensure worker’s safety

Every conscientious employer believes that safety in the workplace should come first and that every employee is entitled to a safe and healthy work environment. Truly progressive and forward-thinking businesses believe in rendering a healthy work environment where their team feels cared for, boosting morale and ensuring a positive culture. To this end, many companies in the marine industry are interested in becoming OSHA authorized, and Dolfab Metal Fabricators is no exception.

What exactly is OSHA? What does it mean to be “OSHA authorized”? What is an OSHA authorized business required to do?

What is OSHA?

OSHA, an acronym of ‘Occupational Safety & Health Administration’, is an American Governmental Agency that works for the welfare of the employees. It was created in 1970 to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance”. According to OSHA, no company and organization has the right to harass or put their employees at risk. The lives of the employees are more important than the organizational benefits; with these fundamental ethics in mind, OSHA was created.

OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor covering most of the private sector and some public sector businesses and workers. OSHA provides businesses with education, consultation services, compliance assistance, and cooperative programs to help prevent injuries and fatalities in the workplace. OSHA agents are also tasked with conducting random inspection checks whenever there is a complaint or reason to believe employees are at risk.

What does it mean to be “OSHA authorized”?

To become OSHA authorized, a business must abide by a series of rigorous OSHA standards and regulations, comply with strict communication requirements, and maintain meticulous records.

Management must sit through specialized training and then schedule a meeting with an OSHA consultant who will conduct a physical on-site inspection to identify possible hazards, whether mechanical and environmental. During this inspection the consultant ensures that the company is not currently violating any OSHA rules and that it will adhere to future standards as well.

What is an OSHA Authorized business required to do?

Some of the responsibilities of the OSHA-certified employer include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Providing a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules and regulations issued under the OSH Act.
  • Examination of workplace conditions to make sure they conform to applicable OSHA standards.
  • Making sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment.
  • Using color codes, posters, labels or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.
  • Establishing or updating operating procedures and communicating them so that employees follow safety and health requirements.
  • Providing safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
  • Employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace must develop and implement a written hazard communication program and train employees on the hazards they are exposed to and proper precautions (and a copy of safety data sheets must be readily available). See the OSHA page on Hazard Communication.
  • Posting, at a prominent location within the workplace, the OSHA poster (or the state-plan equivalent) informing employees of their rights and responsibilities.
    Source

 

This is just a summary of the many responsibilities bestowed upon a business that chooses to become OSHA authorized. They also must stay informed and in compliance of any changes in regulations. All of these responsibilities, and the initiative to undertake them, is a demonstration of good faith and will on behalf of the employer toward the employees.

Dolfab Marine Metal Fabricators is proud to be an OSHA authorized business. Our good standing with the OSHA allowed us to become one of Lauderdale Marine Center’s preferred vendors. We take our employees’ safety seriously and we want to make sure they work under the best possible conditions.

Learn more about OSHA Standards: https://www.osha.gov/law-regs.html

Welding Techniques – Part 1 of 2

Let’s talk technique!

Here at Dolfab we pride ourselves on our workmanship and skill. We take on jobs that other companies may turn away. We can do this because we provide a broad range of welding services. From a polished stainless steel handrail to replacing an aluminum hull side in a yacht we know we have the in house expertise. Not all projects will need the same treatment and different techniques can be needed.  There are at least four welding techniques that are most common- in this article, we’ll cover two of these.

 

Stick welding

Stick Welding, aka Shielded Metal Arc Welding, may be responsible to making welding into an art. Widely  used to this day, stick welding gained popularity in the 1920’s because of its versatility and ease of use in welding steel. Stick welding uses a consumable welding rod made out of metal with a flux coating. The rod arcs against the part or metal that is being welded. The rod melts and forms a pool of metal which then forms a joint when cooled. Stick welders, being small and mobile, were used everywhere from your local auto repair center to building structures for the construction industry.  Chances are you may know someone who has a stick welder in their home garage. As technology got better stick welding took a back seat to the next welding technique…

 

MIG welding

MIG or Metal Inert Gas welding was introduced in the 1940’s. Mig welding uses high voltage to melt and fuse metals together. Instead of the welding rod used in stick welding, MIG welding uses a welding gun that uses an electrode wire and a shielded gas. When the trigger is pulled the gas and wire pass through the gun. The gas is used to keep the process from being contaminated.  While mig welding was designed for welding nonferrous metals such as aluminum, the process adapted to welding steel fairly quickly because of its speed and ease of use.

 

Continue to Welding Techniques – Part 2 of 2 to learn about TIG and FCAW techniques.

Are you in love with your yacht? When a yacht refit makes sense and how to choose a refitter

Yacht owners: If you’ve owned your yacht for any length of time you may find yourself at a crossroads of whether or not it’s time to start shopping for a new yacht or make necessary repairs to your existing vessel. It’s likely you have been on many memorable trips with friends and family that have built lasting memories. When does it make sense to do a yacht refit? How do you go about choosing the right yacht refitter to do the job?

 

There are many things to take into consideration. Most newer yachts are loaded with new technology and systems. While these are great selling points, are these new systems in your best interests? The answer is not so simple. Most of the time a yacht owner or crew members know every inch of you vessel. When presented with a new yacht with new technologies they will find new issues will not be as easily rectified because of lack of knowledge, which can be costly and can certainly rack up lay days at the shipyard while your crew and or contractors learn on your dollar. This is where keeping and refitting you older vessel will be more cost effective in the long run.

 

When weighing the pros and cons of purchasing a new vessel or moving forward with a refit you’ll have to do the math. Here is an outline to help you get started.

 

1. Cost: Is your vessel beyond repair? If not, can you afford a refit? A yacht refit can consist of many different variables that may be hidden beneath the superstructure of your yacht.

There may be things happening below the surface that may be missed or will pop up while in the middle of a large refit, so it’s important to choose the right refitter. That leads to part two…

2. Estimates:  When choosing the right yacht refitter, it doesn’t hurt to scour the internet looking for reviews of contractors. But your search will not end there! It’s important to get several estimates. The best estimate is not always the cheapest or most cost-effective. A bad refit can certainly cost more in the long run.

3. Planning: Choose a company that can build an estimate by planning the refit from prior refits along with experience. This is a crucial step in the process.

4. Skills:  The right yacht refitter will specialize in what they do. Many refit yards hire different sub-contractors that bid on the job, and not to anyone’s surprise the job will go to the lowest bidder. That being said, YOU as the owner of you vessel should have some influence on who is performing your yacht refit. You should be able to feel comfortable with the refitter and not wonder about the final outcome.

5. Job Timeline: Having a good estimated timeline of when your refit will be finished is a good indicator of the quality of the contractor you’re hired. if your contractor cannot give you a timeline, this might be an indicator that they are not the right contractor for the job.

Choosing a company such as Dolfab will ensure that all the steps above are covered. We will walk you through your job from the very inception and do our very best to ensure all issues (obvious and hidden) will be taken into consideration.  From the very beginning, we can even video document the entire refit job so there will be no questions that cannot be answered at the time of Commissioning.

Since 1984 Dolfab, Inc.  has provided quality work held to the highest standards ensuring your beloved yacht will continue to make memories for you and your family.

Detaclad: Innovative Method that Offers High Sheer Strength & Quality

 

Welding is a common process which is used in a number of different industries such as chemicals, refining, engineering, metals, and mining.  Earlier, conventional methods were used to join or fuse together two metals, however, now we have access to the latest technological advancements including tools and techniques that science has created to make our jobs easier.

A peculiar new technology has come forth which uses the energy of controlled explosions to weld plates together. Explosion Welding Process or Detaclad, is a unique and robust technology that is in great demand these days and has been adopted by a number of different industries due to the advantages that it offers.

Detaclad technology is widely in practice all over the world and is implemented to fuse together two dissimilar metals.  Explosion welding process is a step by step procedure that involves six phases such as: –

  • Plain Material Inspection
  • Grind Mating Surfaces
  • Assemble Backer, Cladder & Explosive
  • Explosion
  • Flatten & Cut
  • Testing ad Inspection

All these steps need to be followed in a sequence, in order to get the desired results. Significant precision is involved in all the stages to avoid errors. Even a small mistake can be significantly costly as all of the raw material will then have to be disposed off. With the help of explosion cladding, one can join unlimited range of compatible ad Non-compatible metals.  The Cladding process creates ductile, high strength weld over the entire metal surface. Using Explosive Clad, there are many benefits over roll band and weld overlay. There are many different metals such as Titanium steel, aluminum steel, and aluminum copper which have been created by using explosion cladding technology rather than the conventional welding process.

In nutshell, we can say that Detaclad is a globally tested and proven technology. Products designed with explosive welding procedure have better design options, corrosion resistance and improved service life. Here at Dolfab we are very proud to say that we use this innovative and awesome technology. Check out the Dolfab project gallery to see the work we did on Life of Riley, a 113′ Burger yacht that underwent this process.

Coast Guard Certification on Marine Metal Fabrication

When hiring a welder for your vessel, make sure you are dealing with the US Coast Guard… the USCG has specific requirements that have to be met in order to be USCG Certified.

There are a series of tests that include different types of welding and may consist of welding different thickness metals, penetration of the welds and most likely a bend test. If your vessel is being repaired the you may need a “CFR”: Condition-Found Report. This is a report submitted to the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative, either in written or electronic format, describing the condition(s) found while performing a task specified in the work item, such as an inspection.

After the “CFR” we have “CIR”: Critical Inspection Report. This report is submitted to the COTR within the first 25 percent of the availability contract period, either in written or electronic format, describing the condition(s) found while performing a task specified in the work item, such as an inspection.

When the time comes to make a boat or yacht repair, one may shop price but it’s important to remember you get what you pay for. Quality is everything when it comes to the safety of your crew and family. Dolfab is proud to be a USCG certified welding and fabrication facility. We employ only the finest welder and fabricators in the industry and maintain an experienced team of USCG & ABS certified welders on staff. Their experience with Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel, Aluminum and Cupra-Nickel is unparalleled in the industry. We have the expertise, equipment and facilities to perform all types of welding either on your vessel or in our welding shop.