In many areas of the country, the weather is warming up and it’s hard to shake the feeling the spring is right around the corner. For boaters, this is a critically important period of time when you should be prepping your boat for the water. Here are a few specific steps you should take to ensure your time on the water is safe and fun this spring.
Inspect the Boat
The first step is to get your boat out of storage and remove the shrinkwrap, so you can assess the situation and make any necessary adjustments to ensure safety get it ready for the water.
“Once shrinkwrap has been removed, take a quick walk around your boat trailer and check for anything you might have missed in the fall,” Wholesale Marine suggests. “For outboard and sterndrive craft, check the propellers to make certain that these have not been bent or damaged or become corroded while in storage. The rudderstock is another important component to inspect to ensure it is true.”
Charge the Battery
The next step is to go ahead and charge the battery. If applicable, go ahead and inspect the water levels as well.
“The cables and terminals must be clean and secure,” boater Bill Grannis mentions. “Inspect for corrosion or seepage on the engine. If your motor was winterized correctly, it should be ready to go after priming the fuel system and servicing the battery.”
Test Safety Mechanisms
Next up are the various safety mechanisms on the boat. It’s much better to check these now than to find out they don’t work when you’re out on the water and need to use them.
If your boat has navigation lights, check that the bulbs still work and are in good condition. It’s also smart to examine the wiring and insulation terminals to ensure everything is in good shape. If your vessel has any sort of enclosed cabin, be sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed and in working order.
Inspect the Trailer
If you’ll be using a trailer to transport your boat, it’s imperative that you give it an inspection as well. The last thing that you want is to deal with a breakdown on the side of the road.
The most common reasons for a trailer breakdown are flat tires, wheel bearing failures, problems with the suspension, axle issues, and tongue or coupling trouble.
Stock the Boat
It’s best to go ahead and stock your boat with all of the necessary supplies you’ll need for the boating season (life jackets, fishing supplies, sunscreen, towels, etc.). This gives you one less thing to worry about when it comes time to use the boat for the first time.
Is your registration up to date? What about boating and fishing licenses? Do you have all of the proper documentation on board? Getting your paper trail in order is an important process that can’t be overlooked.
Wash/Clean the Boat
While a lot of people wash their boat as soon as they pull off the shrinkwrap, it’s best to wait until after you’ve performed all of the other steps to give it a deep clean. This ensures the boat will sparkle when you crank it up for the first time.
Now’s the Time to Put in the Work
As a boat owner, the first few weeks leading into spring can test your nerves and patience; however, now is the time to put in the work. If you’re proactive and meticulous about preparing your boat for spring, you’ll be able to enjoy it for the next five or six months with very few issues.