The Spring Boating Checklist
With the arrival of warmer weather and rising water temperatures, we are all eager to get back out on the boat. Before getting underway, it is vital to ensure that your vessel and its electronic components are in proper working order. We have created a short checklist to examine before putting your boat in the water for the first time this season. If you have any questions, be sure to let us know!
If having your engine fully serviced is not an option, you can inspect key components to ensure there are no obvious issues. Start by checking the oil level and the condition of the oil. If it looks dirty or milky, it may need to be changed. Check the fuel lines, filters, and tanks for leaks, excessive rust, or cracks. If your boat is on a trailer or dry rack, run it on a hose to make sure your starter is operational, the engine is “peeing”, and there are no odd sounds. Lastly, be sure to check the trim!
Check the battery’s charge, condition, and ensure the terminals are clean and tight. If the battery is more than three years old, it may need to be replaced. Also, consider installing a battery monitor to keep track of your battery’s voltage and health.
Inspect the hull of your boat for any damage or cracks that may have occurred over the winter. Check the boat’s bottom, sides, and transom for any signs of wear or damage. Look for any blisters or other damage to the gel coat, and make sure the drain plugs are in place. If you notice any issues, have them repaired before launching your boat.
Before you hit the water, make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment on board. The Coast Guard and Marine Patrol are out in force in early boating season and safe boating starts with a safe captain. The list includes life jackets for all passengers, a throwable flotation device, a fire extinguisher, flares, and a whistle or horn. Check the expiration dates on your flares and replace them if necessary.
Click here for the full list of USCG safety requirements.
Navigation Equipment And Electronics
Finally, make sure all your navigation equipment is in good working condition. This includes your GPS, depth sounder, and VHF radio. Check the connections and antennas for any damage or corrosion, and make sure you have spare batteries for any handheld devices. Consider updating your charts and software to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.
Hitting the water in the spring is an exciting time, but it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety and prevent damage to your vessel.
Before hitting the water, check your engine, battery, hull, safety equipment, and navigation equipment. By taking the time to properly prepare your boat, you can have a safe and enjoyable boating season.