While you may be excited and anxious to get your boat back on the water, it’s important to ensure your boat is in good working order first. We’ll point out three major considerations you should address before your boat touches the water:
1. Routine Maintenance:
Look at the engine and the levels of oil, coolant, and power-steering fluid to make sure they aren’t low. If so, add more or replace as needed. Also, check that you have fuel, and that the vent is open.
Hull and Topside
Check for any wear and tear such as cracks to the hull. If there are any cracks or holes, have them repaired quickly to prevent the possibility of leaks while on the water. The propeller should be secured properly and free of any damage so it can function correctly.
Make sure the drain plug is in place as well. A drain plug is a plug that is located at the bottom of your boat's transom. When you remove this plug, water drains out; when you replace it, it prevents water from coming back in.
Inspect the wiring and electrical systems thoroughly. The weather can cause damage in some instances due to temperature changes and humidity. Deterioration in the wiring can also pose a serious fire hazard. If the systems do seem damaged, consider having a professional take a look and determine if rewiring may be necessary.
The battery is the lifeline of your vessel while on the water, powering the propellers and electrical gauges. It is a good habit to check the battery often to ensure it is fully charged and not in need of a cleaning or replacement.
2. Seasonal Cleaning:
If your boat was covered during the off season, a quick cleaning will often be sufficient. However, if you notice a buildup of dirt and grime in more places it’s a good idea to give it a deeper cleaning:
- Spray the boat down with water to get it wet and to knock off any loose dirt and debris.
- Find the appropriate boat cleaner and begin to scrub it gently with a brush.
- Give it a final rinse and let the water drip off to prevent any water spots.
- Begin to dry the remaining water off completely.
- Lastly, give it a wax or a seal.
3. Safety Preparedness:
Ensure you have all the proper safety measures checked off, so that passengers can enjoy the water with peace of mind:
- Equip the boat with enough life vests for each passenger.
- Have a first aid kit handy, sunscreen, and bug repellent.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and flares on board.
- Make sure registration, license, boat insurance, and stickers are up to date.
Whether you are a first time or seasoned boat owner it is always good to check the condition of your boat before you take it in the water. If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional.