OCC Forums

Thoughts on a Maintenance Log


By Dick - 13 Dec 2021

Alchemy’s maintenance log intro                            Dec 2021
A maintenance log (ML), to my mind, should function as documentation of work done, as a tickler for work on the horizon, and as a place to write down work notes (such as the need to purchase more filters). I am a firm believer that if something is not written down: it does not exist. Another mantra: the older I get the less I like to think. This ML helps with both.
My ML is on paper and put together as a yearly “book” for the time Alchemy is commissioned. I have rejected computer recording for at least a few reasons, none compelling: so I guess it is mostly personal preference. One is that sitting down every few days or so and filling out the log on paper is just satisfying and glancing through the pages allows me to see what’s ahead. Second, like a Ship’s Log, I consider it a document that reflects the running of Alchemy. Also, any crew can access and see where things stand. Also, I trust paper. Lastly (and least important) surveyors who have seen the ML have said that it will boost sales price to see maintenance documented in this way. For me, having all maintenance chores in a few pages right in front of me facilitates my thinking and planning in a way that having the log on a computer would not do for me. I am no luddite, but I am of a certain generation.
Alchemy’s ML consists of two parts: those done on a regular basis (cleaning and lubing winches) and those done on an hourly usage basis (engine and genset and outboard). Those regular chores are listed based on whether done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years (renewal of some licenses) and prn (as needed: such as re-varnishing the cabin sole or sail replacement). There is space left for notes and a check space for the tasks completion. We then print out a year’s (or a season’s) pages and keep those pages with the hourly maintenance sheets in a binder.
This list is for a Valiant 42 which set up for live-aboard cruising and is moderately complicated for her size. Each skipper will need to adapt their list to their own boat: for example, I have no zinc on my propulsion engine and have a composting toilet.
Below are examples. I will post a full list when I have edited it some.
Daily: chk bilge and engine oil.
Weekly: chk raw water strainer
Monthly: chk propnane system for leaks
1/4ly: polish fuel (or prn)
Semi-annually: work all seacocks
Annually: strip & lube all winches
Bi -annually: end for end chain
5 years: chk/anti-seize all mast & boom fasteners
PRN (as needed and preferably before needed): rebuild head
Winter: remove all batteries from flashlights etc
Spring: put new impellor in engine
Listed of dated items: renewing licenses
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy