Most superyachts couldn’t complete day-to-day operations without a fully functioning tender. For this reason, knowing how to efficiently maintain a yacht’s tender should be one of the main priorities for crew. In a preview to issue 68, we seek the advice of captains and manufacturers on choosing the right tender and the crew’s role in its maintenance.

Credit: Ivor Wilkins, courtesy of McMullen & Wing

Captain Salvador Villerias-Eckart of motoryacht Azteca, understanding the impact tender maintenance has on harmonious on-board operations and the yacht’s financial stamp, ensures the yacht’s tenders receive high levels of ongoing upkeep in order to sustain high quality operations. “Tenders are a very expensive auxiliary equipment on board so we need to one-hundred per cent follow the boat’s manual,” Captain Villerias-Eckart explains. “Normally after each use we wash them fully including the engines. The deck crew are in charge of exterior care and the engineers are in charge of all mechanical aspects. On board Azteca we have a daily, weekly and monthly checklist to follow before and after a tender’s use.”

Captain Guy Booth of motoryacht Aurelia also implements a stringent tender maintenance schedule on board, with a focus on the right products for the job at hand. “Salt, sun, UV light, sitting in warm, salty and corrosive seawater and user abuse leave their mark,” he notes. “Use the right products on the right surfaces, give the highest possible attention to detail when cleaning any surface – just like the interior of the yacht – and have respect for the environment. This should be done every time the tender is used or goes anywhere. In between uses, if personnel and time allow, ideally the tender should get at least the once-over before it’s needed again.”

"Any good manufacturer of superyacht tenders will be only too happy to help determine the appropriate repairs and, if necessary, put you in touch with someone nearby who will do a good job."

Tenders are frequently used by a yacht’s guests so maintaining an attractive environment is key. This can involve anything from opening up and airing lockers – even those best ventilated may suffer from sweating – to treating any signs of rust immediately. Additionally, tender cushions are likely to get damp so crew must remember to remove and dry them thoroughly to prevent mildew and foam rotting, as well as re-gluing any loose tube tapes and seams.

Important to remember is that tenders are not solely aesthetic and the engine should be at the top of the list. “Tender maintenance is largely common sense but when overlooked or postponed may result in breakdown and poor running,” says Paul Edmonds, operations manager at Wahoo Ribs. “Keep it clean, dry and salt free – inside and out, components and all. Daily, weekly and monthly checks on engine and auxiliary systems are vital. If you don’t have a maintenance schedule, write one with the assistance of the engineers and manufacturers.”

This is where a maintenance schedule comes into play, suggests Philip Allen, manager of superyacht tenders at McMullen & Wing, although he adds that if the original installation of engine equipment is up to scratch there should be little maintenance needed, but rather checks to ensure all components are working as expected. “Engines and drives should, of course, be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions. Regularly check all fluid levels such as engine oil, coolant, power-steering oil, drive-trim oil and any other operating devices relying on fluid for their operation,” Allen advises. “Electrical components and wiring should be visually inspected regularly, but good quality original installation should mean that maintenance is not required. Exposed connections should be checked and treated with suitable electrical lubricant. Batteries should be examined and, in particular, if lead-acid type, the acid level checked regularly. Electronic equipment also does not normally require regular checking other than the visual inspection of connectors and wiring for chafe or loose connectors or cable ties.

“If there’s damage, of any sort, always seek the advice of professionals. Any good manufacturer of superyacht tenders will be only too happy to help determine the appropriate repairs and, if necessary, put you in touch with someone nearby who will do a good job. Temporary repairs by the crew are necessary when you’re away from civilisation, but always get a good boat builder along when you can to check it all out and make sure of a lasting job.”

Find the full article in issue 68 of The Crew Reportclick here to download.