Tips To Prepare Your Boat For The Season
Boat maintenance is a key part of keeping your boat cruising smoothly for enjoyment, safety and resale value.
Taking care of maintenance needed for your boat now will make it easy to be out on the water as soon as the season begins this Spring.
Team Jane Kelly knows there’s a lot to think about when it comes to maintaining your boat. We’re pleased to share these tips for the care of your boat.
Start By Cleaning Your Boat
Preparation and cleaning should be a natural part of the Spring to help prevent problems that may keep your boat off the water once the season begins.
If it’s been sitting all winter, it probably isn’t clean.
Washing, waxing and cleaning a boat can be time-consuming, but it’s one of the easiest ways to make your boat looks new again.
Plus, a clean boat can keep issues that may compromise the integrity of your boat from cropping up. It’s a lot easier to notice damaged areas when your boat is clean and shiny. Scratches, dings, and other damage will be easier to spot. Check carefully for mold and mildew and clean it as needed or replace the item. Remove and wash canvas. Check for waterproofing and reapply it if needed.
Check The Hull And Propeller
One of the most important things to do before you take your boat out this spring is to look at the hull for any potential issues that can affect your boat.
Pay attention to scrapes and scratches, blisters, distortions, and fractures. And take note of any paint blisters or other minor maintenance issues that can either be handled immediately or at another time.
In addition to the hull, you will also want to check out the rudder and its fittings, the propeller and its shaft, and all of the other mechanical parts that are visible from the exterior.
Examine propellers for dents, pitting, fractures, and deformation. Propeller damage can create undesired vibration and damage to your drive train. You will also want to make sure the propeller is correctly fastened, and replace bearings as needed.
Also, before each launch, double-check your drain cap is firmly in place.
Make Sure Your Safety Equipment Is Working Properly
It is very important to be sure all the safety gear on your boat is intact.
Look at your life jackets. Take them to a swimming pool and do a flotation test to ensure that they are not compromised. Do the same with any lifesavers.
Replace anything that has expired or is in poor condition.
Check flare(s), fire extinguisher, your first aid kit, flashlight and batteries, spare gas can and more.
While you may not ever need your safety equipment, you will be happy to have reviewed and updated it if it is ever needed.
Check Anchor And Pumps
If you have a larger boat, you will also need to go over some of the heavier equipment like your anchor and the bilge pumps.
Make sure that your anchor’s windlass is not having any trouble moving and check the chain to ensure that there are no signs of rust or other problems.
Examine the boat’s pumps as well. Most of the time, the pumps will be in the bilge to ensure that there isn’t too much water pooling in the hull of your boat.
Check Electrical Systems
Because boats experience a lot of vibration and hull flex, it’s important to properly troubleshoot and maintain electrical components.
Corroded connections are hazardous. You will want to inspect all electrical connections to see that they are clean, tight, and free of corrosion. You will want to remove corroded terminals and clean them with a wire brush, as well as any cable ends, and replace any broken ones.
Also, charge and test your battery to verify it can retain a charge. Replace it, if needed. Plus check and/or replace interior and exterior lighting and wiring.
Your Boat’s Electronics Need To Be Checked, Too
Not to be confused with electrical systems, the onboard electronics of the boat let you navigate and communicate effectively.
Check the wiring for these components for any corrosion. Check voltage levels and update firmware to the latest version.
Check The Motor/Engine
So you don’t get stranded in the middle of a Lake due to an unreliable propulsion system, you’ll want to make sure to check your motor/engine.
Ensure that oil levels are fine and inspect for any damage.
Even if you did a great job of winterizing, it is always good to re-examine the gasoline system for leaks or damage, paying specific attention to fuel hoses, connectors, and tank surfaces.
You may have missed something, or something may have happened while you were away for the season.
Softness, brittleness, or cracking are signs of a broken gasoline hose, so get components replaced as needed, and double-check that all fittings and clamps are securely fastened.
Also check that the engine, exhaust, and ventilation systems are all working correctly.
Take the time to do these checks on your boat for the upcoming Spring season.
If you’re unsure of anything, contact any of the boat service companies at the Lake.
Happy boating and have a safe and happy season out on the water!
All images provided by Kelly's Port.
DISCLAIMER: The following is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give complete advice, nor is it intended to be an exhaustive list of all procedural matters and requirements for boat maintenance. If you need assistance or information, please contact a certified service center.