Top 5 tips for maintaining your tender

We are all accustomed to regularly lifting and antifouling of the boat.

It is part and parcel of boat ownership and the most effective way of protecting your ‘leisure’ asset for the maximum return on investment (why miss a second of summer boating with an ill-prepared boat?).  Yet there is one important piece of equipment not to be overlooked: the tender, the dinghy, the rubber duckie, the dingaling.

At Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard (GCCM), we asked RIB expert, Mike Orsmond of RIBForce Inflatables, for his top tips in maintaining your tender to get the most out of it.

Warning: Mike tells it like it is!

Cover your tender
Clearly, boats exposed to the elements deteriorate and reduce their lifespan, yet the sun is not the worse. It is dirt and excrement.  A covered tender will avoid avian splatter and, as very few people like sitting on seagull poop, this is a good thing.  The same people may be tempted to use domestic cleaning products to remove the offending material and in so doing destroying the tender.  It is best to remove the temptation by covering the boat preferably with a breathable cover as plastic covers will encourage mould and make your tender look awful.   But if you can’t cover it, consider placing it in dry storage when you are not using the boat for extended periods.

Consider onboard storage
It is one thing to select a tender based on the number of passengers it takes but those passengers have towels, large sun hats, wine coolers, cheese board, hammocks, books and everything bar the kitchen sink to take ashore, so select one with adequate storage for your own sanity. No one likes a soggy, sandy sandwich after a swim nor a wet towel.  It also compartmentalises the wet, sandy items keeping the tender neat and tidy and free of trip hazards when you are transferring passengers.

Train your family
Everyone in the family, over 16 years, should have the skills to launch, drive and retrieve the tender and be licensed to do so.  Ribs are brilliant for teaching teenagers boat handling skills as they are a very stable and forgiving vessel. Yet more importantly, it teaches kids good skills (gauging distance, speed, anticipating scenarios etc) and responsibility.  If they get to enjoy the boat, then they should get some of the responsibility for it.  It will also become your greatest asset in discipline: ie, you can’t have access to the tender until you toe the line.

Check your equipment
Just imagine a beautiful day and you head out for the first time in many months.  You anchor and launch the tender only to find the painters needs replacing, the anchor is looking worse for wear, the fuel tank is low, and it is an absolute debacle getting ashore.  You check your boat so check your tender and its equipment. The Broadwater is a busy water way and it is a long way to row if your tender is not operational.  Particularly, check your safety equipment, ensure everything is working including the kids and your lifejackets.  It may well save your life as well as a day out on the bay.

  1. Maintain and service your tender
    Ensure you do your scheduled service of your outboard.  Again, you lift your boat each year for an antifoul and service, do the same for your tender. Check the tubes and valves. Check your cover stripes are all solid. Don’t forget the bung and the bung housing.  It is a safety issue as much as anything else.   And use a qualified mechanic.  It might seem expensive to use a professional but just wait to see how expensive if you don’t do it properly the first time.

Other than that, get out and enjoy being on the water.

For more information on the businesses and services at GCCM to help you manage your tender, check out our business directory or contact our team on [email protected] or Ph: +61 (0)7 5502 5888 for a personalised solution.

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