Since we have been stuck in lockdown for months, many boat owners may not have been able to use their boat for some time. If your vessel has been sat for a while, you should check the following to ensure you are safe to start cruising again on the inland waterways.
It is recommended that you change your narrowboat’s engine oil after a certain number of running hours. You can identify if your oil needs changing by using the dipstick on the top of the engine to check the colour of the oil; if it is clear then you will not need to replace it. However, if you can see that the oil is black, this is due to carbon and dirt build up over time and therefore will need to be changed along with the oil filter too. When you change your oil filter, be sure to apply oil to the rubber seal round the end of it and make sure you secure it well.
For those that haven’t started their engine up for a while, it is advised to run the engine for an hour or so to get the oil up to temperature. To remove the engine oil, you will use a hand pump and empty into a bucket, then you can replace with new oil and check the oil level. The amount of oil the engine needs will depend on the type of engine you have in your narrowboat, so be sure to check your narrowboat maintenance manual in advance before filling it up.
When it comes to changing your gearbox oil, it is important to know the relevant maintenance requirements to find out the right type of oil, amount you need and how often to change it. This can be checked by reading through your engine manual.
Another very important check, is to ensure that you narrowboat is watertight by searching for any visible leaks in hoses and pumps etc. If there are any signs of water coming into the boat, you should make these a priority to fix before going on a trip as this can lead to further problems.