Keeping your boat in good working order is as much a part of the boating experience as boating itself.
This is especially true when taking your vessel out of a long hibernation in winter storage. Here are some quick tips to help you prepare your craft for another great season on the water.
General Maintenance • Check all screws, bolts and other fittings to ensure they are properly secured. • Keep the hulls and decks of the boat cleaned and waxed. This will protect the hull from sun damage and hairline cracks and will help increase your fuel efficiency. • Coat all electrical fittings with a water-repelling, non-conductive grease or corrosion inhibitor, such as Pertox.
Engines and Fuel Systems • Inspect fuel lines, fill and vent hoses for softness, brittleness or cracking. • Check all joints for leaks. • Clean and tighten both ends of the battery cables. Don’t forget to check the battery water level. • Examine fuel tanks, fuel pumps, filters and cooling hoses for any leaks. Replace any rusted clamps.
Trailers • Inspect tire treads and sidewalls for cracks or lack of tread, and replace as necessary. Be sure to double-check air pressure. • Look over the bearings and repack as needed, since these tend to run dry after repeated exposure to water. • Test tail and back-up lights.
Before Getting Wet • Examine the prop for dings, pitting and distortion, as well as the hull for blisters and stress cracks. • Make sure the engine intake sea strainer is free of corrosion and is properly secured. • With your boat on the trailer, swell the planks or strakes by wetting the bottom (preferably from the outside) to confirm you won’t overtake the bilge pump capacity when you launch.
Last But Not Least • Check expiration dates on flares and fire extinguishers. • Inspect dock and anchor lines for chaffing. • Update or replace old charts and waterway guides. • Make sure your boating license and registration are up-to-date and stored in a safe, waterproof place.