Ladies and gentlemen,
This is not going to be the most exciting blog you have ever read, but just like living on a boat sometimes it is not all fun and games. Roughly speaking I figure you have to do a day of maintenance for every week of cruising. This does not mean every week, but I bet if you add it up there are close to 52 days of maintenance and improvements each year including haul out time.
One of the things you will do the most often is change the oil in the engine. Depending where you read and who you talk to you should do this every 100-200 hours. Due to the engine sitting low in the boat you usually can not get to the drain plug for the oil like you can on a car. A pump can be added at the drain to pump it out, or you can do what most people do which is extract it through the dip stick hole.
In the past I used a little hand pump that you pulled back a handle and the oil would be sucked up the pump and then you had to push the oil out into a bucket. Just extracting the oil would take me over 30 minutes and my arms would be worn out.
It is going to sound odd but lucky for me my extractor broke a few months ago, because I had to borrow one and I had never seen it before. This 2 and half foot pump sat on the ground and you pushed and pulled the lever up and down. All the oil was out in less than 10 minutes and it got way more out than the old one. After using my friends I had to get one and found it online for about $60 (plus $40 to ship it to me in the islands). It is sold as a car oil extractor, but works like a boating champ!
Once the oil was out the rest of the oil change is a cake walk. You change out the oil filter, fuel filter, drain any debris in the fuel filter housing, change the fuel element (2nd filter), add oil, check the sail drive oil, and clean up.
Voila you are now free to go swim in the perfectly clear water again!!!!!