Just fine for old enemies and bad restaurants, “out of sight, out of mind” should never be used to describe the engine compartment of a go-fast boat—that’s the word from Johnny Walker, the chief executive officer of Baja Marine in Washington, N.C. which builds the Baja, Donzi and Fountain sportboat lines. A pristine engine compartment isn’t just eye candy, it’s an important tool for spotting potential problems, according to Walker.
“When the engine room is super-clean, any dust or oil is very easy to spot,” explained Johnny Walker, Baja Marine’s CEO. “It really helps when you have to do maintenance that you’re not staring into a pigpen.”
Performance boat owners may be afraid to hose down the engine compartment with fresh water, but they shouldn’t be, according to the leader of the boat-building company. The intakes are pulling in huge amounts of salt air, and the salt needs to be removed from these interior surfaces just the same as those on the exterior of the boat.
“It’s perfectly OK to hose the engine compartment down with fresh water and then spray WD-40 or fogging oil over everything,” said Walker. “That keeps the nuts and bolts from corroding so you can work on them when you need to.”
Walker suggests paying extra attention to hoses and lines that carry fluid to the engines. Discolored lines are more than unsightly. They make it hard to spot potential issues.
“White engine hoses will get dirty and you can clean those with a 20-percent bleach solution and rinse them off,” Walker said. “And don’t forget about your expensive anchors and chains, which will last longer if rinsed with fresh water after every use.”
Walker also emphasized the importance of washing down stern-drives or outboards—as well as trim tabs—with soapy water when the boat comes out of the water, as well as the trim tabs. “And if your boat stays in the water, make sure crustaceans and barnacles don’t make those surfaces their homes,” he said.