Spring Boating Checklist
When your boat has been sitting in storage all winter, you count down the days until it’s warm enough to get your aquatic chariot back in the water. When spring finally arrives, it’s time to get out there and de-winterize your boat. If you’ve done your pre-winter care correctly, you will, with any luck, have avoided some of the things that happen when a boat has been in storage too long. Here is a checklist of things to do to get ready for boat season.
Before you even get to your boat, your battery will need a wake-up call. Clean the terminals and the ends of the cables, and charge the battery. You should use lock nuts on the battery, which will prevent the cables from coming loose. Reinstall the battery and make sure the battery terminals are covered, as that is a regulation defined by the Coast Guard.
Now that you have your battery installed again, you can check your electrical components. Check every switch and then address the switches that aren’t working correctly. No matter what, you need to check the bilge pump. The pump float switch needs to be in working order, and if it’s not then you’ll need to have it serviced.
If your boat has a water system, the plumbing antifreeze will need to be dealt with. The antifreeze needs to be pumped out of the system, especially out of the fresh water tank. You can find some products made for commercial maintenance that will disinfect the system. The next thing you’ll want to do is pressurize the system and then check every faucet that you have, including the shower head, if you have one.
After you’ve taken care of the water, the next thing is to handle is the engine. If you’re not sure where that is, you should take a look at your owner’s manual or service manual. The first thing to check is the oil level. If the oil is dark in color, or you are due for service, you’ll need an oil change.
The bilge should be inspected for any leaks. Other fluids need to be checked as well. That includes the coolant, power steering fluid, and the transmission oil. Also check the fuel lines for and cracks or leaks. Pipes and hoses can become brittle in the cold of winter. Service seawater pumps every other season, and if you can’t remember when it was done last, you really need to have it serviced.
When you’re diligent about your boat care, it saves you time, effort, and even money in the long run. You can always do your spring care yourself, or you can take it to a marina near Monroe or LaSalle, MI. Either way, your boat will get the care it needs.