Spring marks the beginning of boat season for many. So whether you are getting your boat out of storage or making plans for the warmer weather ahead, here are some key things to remember.
1. Build out your “boat list” in advance — Keep a running list of things that you need to do on your boat and schedule that maintenance and those repairs or upgrades proactively. Some fixes and upgrades are seasonal, some are cyclical and some are occasional. But having a plan for how you want to tackle the work that needs to be done to keep your boat in good shape will help you keep its value and maximize your pleasure in getting out on the water — and often with fewer costly surprises as well.
2. Do a thorough engine and systems check and a test run before you take your boat out for its first big trips of the season – So many boaters end up with having major repairs or getting stranded unexpectedly if they don’t check things out before they’re hitting the water for long periods of time. Staying on top of what is happening with your boat – on-season and off — is key.
Keep this checklist in mind for your spring maintenance.
- Change the oil.
- Replace fuel filter and water separator and inspect coolant levels.
- Check batteries and confirm that connections are secure.
- Check all zincs on hull and running gear
- Inspect all hoses and hose clamps.
- Check shaft log and rudder packing for leaks.
- Clean and polish exterior.
- Inventory and inspect safety equipment – check dates on flares and fire extinguishers.
- Check operation of bilge pumps.
- Check electrical connections for corrosion – including shore power cord.
- Check communications and navigational equipment and lights.
3. Have a back up plan for your onboard communications equipment – So many people are such steady smartphone and computer users that they forget the importance of including a back up plan for their onboard communications equipment. Or they try and rely too heavily on spotty cell reception and uneven Wi-Fi access while out on open water. Don’t get caught in a dangerous situation – for you or your boat – with communications or navigational equipment that is in sub-par condition. Letting people know what you are up to from time to time while you are underway is also key. Staying prepared and in contact helps ensure that you can get help if and when you need it most.