Care and Feeding of your American Tug


Annual preparation and cleaning are necessary to prevent problems out on the water.

Engine systems

Take it slow and use a flashlight. Wipe things down during your inspection.

· Inspect the fuel system – look for damage, excessive wear, and leaks, on hoses and Tanks and of course engines.

· Check those hose clamps!!! I like to use a nut runner. Do not over tighten with a battery drill or screw gun.

· Have any hoses or wires come lose and are chafing or brittle.

· Ensure the engine, exhaust and ventilation systems are all functioning properly.

· Clean strainers, 

· Check all fluid levels including engine oil, power steering, power trim reservoirs and coolant.

· Change the engine oil, oil filter and gear lubricants even if it was done prior to winterizing your boat.

· When checking the tension of belts look for residue on pulleys and surfaces nearby, a sure sign of wear.

· If you have control cables check them for wear, corrosion, swelling and deformities may be a sign of internal corrosion.

Electric System

· Inspect all electrical connections for clean, tight, corrosion free connections. Corroded connections can be dangerous

· Remove corroded terminals and use a wire brush to clean them, along with all cable ends.

· Charge your battery and have it tested to ensure it can hold a charge.

· Another set of qualified eyes is always a good idea. Electrical systems especially distribution panels charging systems, ect…should be regularly inspected by a qualified technician.

What’s under the Hull

· Inspect your propellers for dings, pitting, cracks and distortion.

· Make sure the propeller, prop nuts and shaft zincs are secured properly.

· Check and replace cutlass bearings when needed.

· When inspecting the hull clean it first. While washing look for blisters, distortions and dings, and cracks. 

· If you have a drain plug is securely in place.  

Safety Gear

· Check your life jackets to ensure they are in good condition and that there are enough on board for all potential passengers. Make sure they are sized and fit each human and yes pets too.

· Throw-able flotation and signaling devises.

· Be sure all on board fire extinguishers are the correct class for your vessel,  and are fully charged and stowed in the proper place.

· For any enclosed or semi-enclosed area, ensure you have at least one properly installed and working carbon monoxide detector

· Consider an EPIRB for situations of distress to ensure you can be found

· This is not a complete exhaustive list so…Take advantage of any safety inspections offered by the US Coast Guard (USCG), USCG Auxiliary or US Power Squadrons. 

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