Many boaters, especially those on larger vessels, use an electrical or manual windlass to raise and lower the anchor. While windlasses are integral to many boats, their maintenance needs are often neglected. It is a piece of mechanical and electrical equipment that is often exposed to the elements, and poor maintenance can cause corrosion issues and failed components. Luckily, we have some annual maintenance tips to ensure your windlass and anchoring system runs smoothly all season long.
Clean and Lubricate Moving Parts
Cleaning your windlass is a crucial step in its maintenance routine. Saltwater, dirt, and debris can accumulate over time and cause unnecessary strain on the system. Use a mild cleaning solution and a soft brush to remove the residue. When inspecting your windlass, disassemble the chainwheel and clutch cone system and lubricate the moving parts and fasteners with grease. It is essential to clean and lubricate the surfaces where the two clutch cones and chainwheel meet. Every windlass is a little different, so consult the manual and parts breakdown for your particular model.
Inspect the Anchor Rode
An anchor rode is the combination of the anchor chain and the rope, and it is vital to inspect it regularly. It’s always a good idea to check the entire length of the chain and rope, as you likely don’t see it in its entirety very often. Even a rope that’s been in the locker all season can fray from friction against the chain lying on top of it. Check the rope for fraying or any snags that could get caught in the windlass.
Inspect the Motor
If you have a horizontal windlass with the motor above the deck, inspect the housing for any cracks or damage. If you find some, remove the housing and ensure water hasn’t intruded and corroded the motor.
If the windlass motor is below deck, you should still check the motor for any corrosion. Like the electrical connections, being below deck doesn’t protect it from water damage. If you find signs of corrosion, remove the electrical components, clean them as best you can, and reattach them. However, if the motor is severely corroded and rusted, it may be time to replace it.
Maintain the Battery
If your windlass is electrically powered, maintaining its batteries is crucial. Regularly check the battery voltage, clean the terminals, and ensure proper charging. Weak or faulty batteries can cause the windlass to underperform or fail when you need it the most.
Marine Electric Systems, LLC is a Leader In the Maritime Industry
We here at Marine Electric Systems have over 30 years of industry experience. You can trust our team for reliable service and expert craftsmanship in the Maryland, Baltimore, Annapolis, and Baltimore city areas! We’re highly certified and adhere to all ABYC and NMEA regulations. We specialize in top-notch electrical solutions for recreational, commercial, and government boating clients. Anything from electrical refits, to navigation systems, or boating maintenance. To stay up to date on our services, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also contact us at 410-263-0807.