By Thomas P.

Having completed the maintenance of your engines, which must remain in a vertical position in order to drain well from the water, we proceed to the maintenance of the Rib with simultaneous inspection of any possible damage that may need to be repaired.

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  • Empty completely the rib from all its gear and equipment.

The first thing you have to do is to remove everything from your rib and let every locker completely empty: lines, life jackets, anchors, fenders, seat and couch pillows, tents and any removable electronic device.

The best thing to do is to take them all to your warehouse and after cleaning and washing with fresh water, arrange them in a well-ventilated area without humidity.
So, by removing the salts that have definitely left their marks, you are sure you will have them crystal clear and in perfect condition for the next period.

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  • Deck, tubes and hull washing.

Before anything else, a good pressure washing is necessary to remove any trace of salt or dirt from the deck, the tubes and the hull.

Then you check and clean each spot of the boat using the appropriate cleaner for the relevant surfaces. You will find special detergents for the tubes, gelcoat or rust removal usually observed at the support points of any stainless steel installation on the fiberglass.

After finishing cleaning thoroughly, it is necessary to pass all surfaces of the boat with special polish emulsions, which not only give a wonderful shine to your rib but at the same time maintains it and prevents moisture from coming into direct contact with its surfaces.

If you detect scratches or cracks in the hull gelcoat (which is common at the bow entry or the edges of the spray rails), it is best to let them repair for the spring, giving them the time to dry out completely from the summer's moisture.

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  • Maintenance of batteries and check the entire electrical installation.

A thorough checking of the entire rib’s electrical installation, from the batteries till each switch separately is more than required.

Since the batteries are the ones that will provide the necessary electricity to start on your engine, you have to keep them in excellent condition.

It is known that low temperatures and immobility kill the batteries. If you leave the batteries for a long time empty or even little charged then it is certain that their lifetime is significantly reduced.

You should never let the batteries discharged completely, and for their better maintenance they need to be recharged at least once a month.

So disconnect the batteries, inspect the poles and lubricate them. Bring them in your garage and get an automatic charger so as to be able to keep them in excellent condition for the next season’s first launching.

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Check the cables for damage or oxidation, fuses and switches of all instruments and devices of the rib.
Replace anything that is corroded or doesn’t work and spray with the proper lubricant all electrical connections at each switch.

  • Inspection and maintenance of the Steering System.

Particular attention must also be paid to the steering system of the rib, some damage of which is unlikely to leave you adrift.

If you have a mechanical steering system on your rib, you should know that it presents more frequent wears than the hydraulic one, and therefore requires more careful inspection:

- Check the steering wheel, the helm and the steering cable, as well as their connection hardware. Check for wear or binding of the steering cables. These items cannot be repaired and you have to replace them

- Clean and lubricate the engine tilt tube or cable support tube and the steering cable telescopic output ram.
Remove the steering cable(s) telescoping ram from the tilt tube and clean the tilt tube inside diameter thoroughly.
Lubricate the tilt tube with a good water resistant marine grease.
Scour the steering cable telescopic ram with a brass wire brush and wipe until clean.
Lubricate the sliding parts of the telescopic ram with a high-quality, water resistant marine grease.
Reassemble, making sure all fasteners are tight.

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If you have a hydraulic steering system, follow these steps:

- Check the fluid level in the highest point of the pump, in front of the steering wheel. If the level is low, just fill with the appropriate hydraulic oil.

- After checking the level, screw the cap in the helm pump and turn the steering wheel to the right and left. If there is a noticeable delay in engine movement when you turn the steering wheel, there is a problem somewhere in the system that needs to be corrected.

- Check all hoses and their connections. Look for damage, cracks or leaks. Maybe some connection has loosened and a small leak has started.

- Finally, check the steering tube and the support rod. Take a close look at the seals and check for any scratches or other damage to the steering ram shaft.

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  • Cover your Rib.

Once you have checked the most important parts and finished with the inspection and repairs, cover the rib with a good quality tent. However, ensure that the rib is well ventilated so as to prevent trapped moisture inside. Leave open the hatches of the console and all lockers, the door and the portholes of the cabin allowing the circulation of the air. Finally, go back to the transom and remove the hull plug at its lowest point. Tip the trailer up so the hull drains well and…

After all these, satisfied and happy - the involvement with our rib, even when it's on the trailer, is part of our psychotherapy - let your rib winterise in the parking, knowing for sure that you will find it in perfect condition the next boating season.

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...keep Ribbing!