First Mate Vessel Checkout Service

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Experience our First Mate Bi-Weekly Vessel Checkout Service!

Another Captain-Lite Yacht Support Service designed to better your Boat Owning Experience!

Let’s face it… A boat isn’t something you use every day, much less every weekend. Due to busy schedules and the demands of life, sometimes your vessel can sit for extended periods of time between uses. This makes your time aboard it all the more valuable. However, long periods of inactivity and lack of use can wreak havoc on mechanical and electrical systems on your boat. Try parking your car in the driveway for months at a time and see how reliably it starts and drives. Then try parking it in the driveway of a beach house in the salt air environment… One of the factors that contribute to the expected reliability of your vehicle is the fact that it is driven frequently. All of the systems (engine, transmission, brakes, air conditioning, electrical circuits, etc.) are exercised regularly.

Likewise, the systems on board your vessel need to be used and exercised regularly to aide in their reliable operation. The object of the First Mate Checkout Service is to do just that. It is designed to catch problems before they become larger ones, or result in a wasted drive to the boat or disappointed family or friends.

What is the First Mate Bi-Weekly Vessel Checkout Service?

Our First Mate Checkout Service is a scheduled periodic inspection of your vessel. This focused, customized inspection is designed to check and exercise truly critical systems that would prevent your boat from leaving the slip, keep you from staying aboard, or affect the safety or security of your asset. It is not intended to evaluate each and every non-critical appliance, system, or circuit aboard your boat. By performing periodic inspections, test runs, and exercises every two weeks, you gain a more reliable boat and a much greater probability of enjoying your leisure time aboard!  Small problems are identified before they become larger and more expensive weekend or budget killers.  Equipment becomes more reliable through regular use because it doesn’t sit dormant for extended periods of time.

Why a bi-weekly program? These “concierge” services have been attempted on a monthly basis numerous times before by our competition. Our industry experience has taught us that a potential month of inactivity for mechanical, electrical, and electronic systems is too long to retain reliability. The potential for a malfunction during a span of time that long is just too risky. There is the possibility of up to a month passing between an inspection of your vessel by TNM technicians and your arrival on board. In order to avoid ultimate dissatisfaction with both your boat and a service of this type, a two week inspection interval is a requirement.

This generally consists of the following items:

  • Dockside checks – Includes dock lines, shore power cables, water connections, exterior hull, etc.
  • Major mechanical equipment checkout and exercise – Includes performing manufacturer’s periodic inspections and starting/running equipment to operating temperature under load (when possible).
  • Air conditioning strainer service and exercise – Covers cleaning sea water strainers for AC systems, exercising reverse cycles, etc.
  • Critical systems checkout – Includes battery charge levels, battery water levels, bilge pump functional tests, navigation light checks, bonding system potential measurements, etc.
  • Owner-directed or vessel-specific checks and light maintenance items – Covers any specific items or light periodic maintenance needs specific to your boat or your preferences.
  • Interior walk through – Includes checking lighting, head system operation, fresh water/holding tank levels, galley equipment, etc.
  • Boat close-up, securing, and/or make-ready – Includes leaving the boat as the owner requests in preparation for arrival or longer layup.

What are the Specific Benefits that set this program apart from our competitors?

  • You get trained eyes and ears aboard your boat every two weeks. We make every effort to have the same technician perform your checkouts each time.  In this way, minor changes in condition or performance can be detected before progressing to more serious problems.
  • Critical system repairs for program subscribers are prioritized by TNM’s Service Department. We make every effort to complete repairs before changes in your boat plans are required.  We have the strength of our Service Department to properly correct problems as they are uncovered.
  • After hours, weekend, and holiday support. Should a problem with a critical system (one that keeps the boat from leaving the slip, prevents you from staying aboard, or affects the safety or security of your vessel) occur after hours, over a weekend or holiday, TNM will dispatch an on-call technician to address the problem at regular business hour rates (no additional after hours, weekend, or holiday fees).
  • Regular galvanic voltage measurements of your critical underwater hardware – Know with certainty if your anodes are doing their job! If you’ve ever had to replace a prop, shaft, outdrive, or sail drive due to galvanic corrosion you will know first-hand how valuable this is!
  • Regular checks for dangerous AC stray current – Identify dangerous electrical faults before exposing you our other loved ones to possible injury. AC stray current can pose serious hazards to swimmers around your boat, as well as people on board.
  • The support of an Industry Leader. Many companies have attempted this type of service before, only to ultimately over promise and under deliver.  True North Marine offers the strength of our organization and our proven industry expertise to back up our promise and deliver true customer satisfaction.
  • Our Checkout is tailored to your vessel. We identify your mission critical systems, determine ways to insure they are working properly, and provide readily accessible evidence we were on board and all is well.  If it’s not, you receive clear and prompt communication, as well as consulting on repair options when necessary.
  • You have the ability to add minor preventive maintenance items to your checkout. You know your vessel.  You may also know which systems regularly need your additional attention when you want to give it least.  Add these items to your Checkout and take them off your weekend “to do” list!

Another unique feature of this program is documentation and the confidence it provides. First, a checkout procedure and form specific to you boat are developed. This is not the equivalent of the automotive express-lube 101 point checkout, but rather a customized procedure tailored to your specific vessel. Whether it is a 60’ motor yacht or a 35’ sailboat, the checkout procedure will be completely different. Second, we provide digital pictures to show you exactly what was done, as well as better communicate any issues that may be observed or uncovered. The completed checkout form and photos are available to you at any time via a user-friendly file sharing program. This is not the “concierge” program you may have tried with other service companies. You may have experienced the frustration of finding a stack of generic checkout forms aboard your boat, but still didn’t have the confidence much of anything you were charged for was actually done. This program closes the loop between what we say we are going to do, and using current technology to actually prove what was done.

Obviously, this program cannot eliminate all of the problems you might encounter on your boat, but it can drastically reduce them. Also, running engines in the slip cannot fully simulate the full-load conditions of having the boat out on the water, especially when larger diesels are involved. However, the benefits of exercising engines in the slip far outweigh the risks of not running them at all.

Rely on our First Mate Checkout Service to support you and your family’s boating success. Contact our Captain-Lite Program Manager today for more information on how to get your vessel added to the program!