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Old 03-19-2022, 08:36 PM   #1
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City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 4,671
Who keeps impeccable maintenance records?

I wish I kept great records, but I don't. I do all the stuff I should (and then some) but just don't write it all down. I write the hours on the filters, and it's plain to see the upgrades and such, but not much is written down.

A common refrain on this forum is, when considering a purchase, to ask for maintenance records and be suspicious of a boat with gaps. I dont plan to sell and I don't really care what a buyer thinks as I believe the boat would speak for itself, but curious what say the TF Bigger Brain?

How may of you don't keep great records?

Curious minds want to know....

M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Trawler
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Old 03-19-2022, 08:39 PM   #2
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City: Au Gres, MI
Vessel Name: Black Dog
Vessel Model: Formula 41PC
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 17,537
I am great at working on the boat but crappy at documenting it. I try and do it for a month or two and then it just drifts by the wayside.
Boat Nut:
If you are one there is no explanation necessary.
If you aren’t one, there is no explanation possible.
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Old 03-19-2022, 08:43 PM   #3
City: Rochester, NY
Vessel Name: Hour Glass
Vessel Model: Chris Craft 381 Catalina
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 5,754
I'm pretty bad about it as well, although I have an oddly good memory for it. On the boat if you ask about something I can probably give an approximate date for it. With the cars at home there's one I've been disciplined about records for, but generally I do the work without thinking to document it.

In general, when buying I like to be able to talk to someone who's owned it for a while. You can often get a good sense of maintenance even without records and knowing exactly what's been done when.
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Old 03-19-2022, 09:11 PM   #4
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City: Duvall, Wa. USA
Vessel Name: Beach Music II
Vessel Model: 2003 Mainship 430 Trawler
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 918
I keep a log book with the date, location, and engine hours. I also put in the date and whatever maintenance that I've done. Whoever gets the boat after me will know where it's been and what's been done to it.
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Old 03-19-2022, 09:42 PM   #5
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City: Ex-Brisbane, (Australia), now Bribie Island, Qld
Vessel Name: Now boatless - sold 6/2018
Vessel Model: Had a Clipper (CHB) 34
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I made a deliberate decision to not do it, mainly because in my day job, as a GP, I was forced to document everything for medico-legal reasons, and for good management.

Over time I realised that was perhaps going a bit too far, and some documentation would have been good, especially when it came to re-sale. So maybe there's a happy medium..?
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Old 03-19-2022, 11:07 PM   #6
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City: Queensland
Vessel Model: Milkraft 60 converted timber prawn trawler
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 4,705
I keep a reasonable track of everything done on Google docs

Each major component (Genset, engine, gearbox, pumps, hull) has it's own doc, hours and dates as things are done and notes on issues
All available across all devices.

Vessel had zero records when we got her.
Everything on a boat is broken, you just don't know it yet
Full time cruising is repairing boats in exotic locations
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Old 03-20-2022, 12:24 AM   #7
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City: Tampa
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Posts: 138
I guess I'm lazy. I keep a simple filing case with all manuals, systems etc. Also yearly receipt files. When the time comes to sell I can create a spreadsheet or not.
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Old 03-20-2022, 03:06 AM   #8
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City: Walkabout Creek
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 8,291
I keep a pretty good log of everything I do on the boat. It's just running notes, like a journal, and I do it so I can remember what I did, what I tried, what worked and what didn't work while fixing and improving things. It's super useful to search back on topics, and helps my eroding memory. As part of that, I have a simple table of routine maintenance task, with dates and hours for when each was done. Each time I do something, I add an entry for when it's due next. That makes it easy to scan and see what's coming due when.
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Old 03-20-2022, 03:40 AM   #9
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Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 37
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,026

I make entries in the boat log for all maintenance, repairs, refueling. The same book has daily trips (time and distance), machine hours, and more.

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Old 03-20-2022, 05:40 AM   #10
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City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 4,671
Good to see I have some company in the lax-records space.

Going forward as I finalize my refit and get Weebles moving, I really need to do a better job. Twistsd Tree makes several good points about correlation and trending of data, though his boat is infinitely more complex and would tax anyone's memory. My sense is there's a complexity quotient that can be derived with sumproduct of pistons, impellors, and displays raised to the power of the sum of IP Addresses floating around the boat. A Nordhavn like TTs can get pretty complex. There's a natural and self imposed limit on my 50+ year old Willard.

When I was delivering I typically made detailed notes for the owner. Many of my deliveries added over 100 engine hours to the boat, sometimes up to 500 hours. I created a breadcrumb log in my nav software which I felt would be helpful in the event of an insurance or warranty claim. Because many were new, I did the first oil change, sometimes at sea. All sorts of observations about any quirks or conditions of the boat. Anything I thought the owner might possibly find interesting, mostly so he'd be a strong reference.

But I don't do it for myself. I've tried and probably bought 3-4 logbooks over the years. I guess it's a case of the shoemakers children going shoeless. Simi60 idea with Google Docs might have merit for me.

M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Trawler
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Old 03-20-2022, 05:41 AM   #11
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City: Malmö
Vessel Name: ABsolutely FABulous
Vessel Model: Greenline 33 Hybrid (2010)
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 1,294
I keep a spreadsheet maintenance log. Not happy with the organization of it, but at least I have something...
2010 Greenline 33' Hybrid
Home port: Malmö, SWEDEN
Currently in: Valletta, MALTA
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Old 03-20-2022, 05:50 AM   #12
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City: Fort Myers, FL... Summers in the Great Lakes
Vessel Name: Slow Hand
Vessel Model: Cherubini Independence 45
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 11,432
I wish I was better at keeping a log. What works for me is a label maker. Change the raw water impeller, it gets a label:


Oil analysis is kept as a PDF file on a thumb drive. Blackstone shows the most recent 6 tests. I do this for the engine, transmission and generator.

On some things (like the water heater) I'll just right the replacement date with a sharpie in plain view. On items that aren't hour based or annual based maintenance, it's faster for me to look at the previous maintenance label. As an example, when looking at the vacuum pumps on my Vacuflush heads, I know I'm going to be changing the valves, but the tag reminds me it's been 5 years since I did the bellows.

I'm tired of fast moves, I've got a slow groove, on my mind.....
I want to spend some time, Not come and go in a heated rush.....
"Slow Hand" by The Pointer Sisters
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Old 03-20-2022, 07:32 AM   #13
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City: Signal Mtn., TN
Vessel Name: Stella Maris
Vessel Model: Defever 44
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,692
I also keep the Blackstone reports readily available and plan to SOMEDAY reconstruct and document the other routine maintenance and upgrades. My (weak) excuse for not doing so is that I stay too busy performing them. For trip logs, we use NEBO, which gives us most of the relevant data and a map with the day’s run automatically.
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Old 03-20-2022, 08:02 AM   #14
City: Newport, R.I.
Vessel Name: Hippocampus
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 42
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 2,639
Finally got more anal about this. In the past had small cardboard sheets I kept inside a plastic envelope which was attached to what ever device. Upon a oil/filter change would write date/engine or run hours then what was done. If filters changed would detach thin cardboard lid and write date/hours on it then put in envelope.
Still do above but finally bought Boating Suite for a few bucks. Now enter the same information but also cost, place and vendor for everything. So get total cost of ownership as well as detailed service records. Lastly keep my receipts . Periodically scan them into the IPad. Think having iPads or similar makes it so easy to update records immediately upon completing any task I have much less excuses for not doing it.
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Old 03-20-2022, 08:44 AM   #15
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City: Port Clinton
Vessel Name: Hi Ho
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 32
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 32
I do pretty good but not organized the way I want it. I developed a complete list of information and all the components / equipment with serial numbers and service part numbers etc. Then I just update that item when I serviced it. I usually just save the bills and update the file during a winter day that I can't get to the boat. I keep a printed copy on board as well as at home, the electronic version is very handy when I'm at the parts counter.

The admiral insisted I establish a file so when the time comes to sell she can share. I think she just wants to verify that when I'm say I'm down working on the boat I'm just out shooting the bull!

Funny thing though, I have done this on every boat I owned and shared a written copy to the new owners. They still call me for information about their boat, not sure they really ever looked at the sheet. I think their more interested in looking at the condition of the boat!
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Old 03-20-2022, 09:00 AM   #16
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City: Victoria TX
Vessel Name: Bijou
Vessel Model: 2008 Island Packet PY/SP
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 5,242
I keep a maintenance log, but it’s kind of a mess. Not very professional looking.

Does most everyone here do routine oil reports on every oil change with Blackstone or whoever? I’ve done a few but not on every oil change.
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Old 03-20-2022, 09:13 AM   #17
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City: New Orleans
Vessel Name: Stella
Vessel Model: Seaton 56
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 269
I have kept a fairly rigorous Excel log since acquiring Stella. Inputs are similar to a database and take advantage of Excel’s filter functions so I can retrieve entries by date, engine hours, system, component, who performed task and notes about what was found, and materials used for repair. Fairly useful and helpful for insurance and, hopefully, future sale.
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Old 03-20-2022, 09:17 AM   #18
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City: Groton, CT
Vessel Name: Datenight
Vessel Model: North Pacific 45
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 985
I don't keep a separate maintenance book. Everything goes in the logbook as it is done.

Every time the engine is started the date, time, engine hours, fuel level (gallons used to date), weather and starting location is noted. The same data including notes on the trip is entered upon reaching the destination.

If we run the generator the date, time of day and hours are noted at the beginning and end of the cycle.

Having said that, I don't note things like washing and waxing, inspecting hoses and battery/electrical connections. Also don't keep track of propane for the stove but a tank (fiberglass 17#?) lasts more than a season.

The buyer of our NP 39 and surveyor both seemed happy with that level of documentation.

North Pacific 45
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Old 03-20-2022, 09:37 AM   #19
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City: Walkabout Creek
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 8,291
The more I think about it, what I keep is a detailed Journal, not really a log. What would really qualify as my maintenance log is sorest sparse. Just date, hours, and task like “main oil & filter”. And my ships log is equally terse, with entries like 08:00 departed xxx for YYY, the 17:00 Anchored, YYY. The journal is supplemental to the logs, and contains my own train of thought in things, rants, etc. But it really covered everything done to the boat in a lot of detail. The last boats journal was well over 100 pages, single spaced in a word doc. Before passing it to the next owner I had to sanitize it since I had bitched out various people and products along the way.

I also keep a spreadsheet with all the spares and supplies on board. When my maintenance log shows service due, I can check to see what I have in stock, and what I need to get to replenish. One key element in the spreadsheet is where the item is stashed. It’s easy to forget things that are infrequently used.

Last, I have built up another document that is a pretty comprehensive list of the boats details and equipment. This is particularly important to me since I’m not on the boat full time. So if I need to get a part for some piece of onboard equipment, I have the make, model, and serial number on hand, can check my parts list to see if I already have the part, and order it if needed, all while away from the boat.

There are infinite ways to do all this with lots of “right” answers. This happens to work for me.
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Old 03-20-2022, 09:42 AM   #20
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City: San Diego
Vessel Model: Helmsman 4304
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 1,867
I downloaded MV Dirona’s spreadsheet he has on this blog about 4 years ago and modified it for our vessels systems. In addition to that, I have a “Ships Manual” so to speak that I am constantly adding notes on everything from systems, projects, and wins and losses.
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