You’ve had your boat in storage for months, maybe a year or more because of the pandemic, just waiting for the day it would be warm enough to launch for the first time this season. While that day is nearly here, you still have a lot of work to do before your boat is ready to set sail or speed off. We share several tips on how to prepare your boat for summer in this blog post.
Belts and Cables
The belts and cables of your boat are prone to cracking while sitting in storage over a long Canadian winter, so be sure to perform a thorough inspection. You can start by making sure the belts fit snugly around the pulleys since this will prevent them from slipping. A belt will leave black residue around pulleys when it has become worn, which means you will need to replace the belts if you notice this. Look for, and correct any swelling that you see on the steering control cables or outer jackets.
Before you plan for your first launch this season, you need to have a professional electrician examine all electrical systems. Electrical parts can easily become corroded, which in turn impacts the safety and performance of your boat. Late spring is also a good time to change the boat’s battery and then test it to ensure it can hold a full charge. You can clean the cable ends and terminals yourself with a wire brush.
Inspect your boat’s fuel system carefully to see if you spot any leaks or other type of damage. You also want to look at all connections, fuel tank surfaces, and hoses. Keep in mind that any brittleness, cracks, or softness on the boat’s hoses can impact how efficiently it operates. Check nuts, bolts, and clamps manually to make sure they are securely attached. Lastly, test the engine, exhaust system, and ventilation system to ensure they are in good working order.
Check all fluid levels at the start of each season and replenish them if necessary. This includes the coolant, engine oil, power steering, and power trim reservoir. You may want to replace all fluids with a fresher supply depending on how long your boat has been sitting in storage. It is especially important to change your boat’s oil filter, engine oil, and drive lubricants if you did not do that before storing your boat for the winter.
Propellers and Hulls
Look over your boat’s propellers to see if you notice cracks, dings, pitting, or distortion. If you do, be sure to replace the propeller right away. Resist the urge to put off replacing a damaged propeller, since that increases the risk of drive train damage and unwelcome vibrations. You also need to inspect the hull for the same problems and repair it if necessary. Don’t forget to clean the hull along with the topsides and deck.
Count the number of life jackets on your boat and replace them if they become worn. Make sure you have enough for all passengers you expect on board in both adult and child sizes. If you do not yet have an emergency position-indicating radio beacon station (EPIRB), consider installing one before you launch for the first time this year. Should you experience distress on the water, having an EPIRB makes it easier for the Coast Guard to locate you. Be sure you have a fire extinguisher on the boat and that your anchor is clear of all debris and ready to use as well.
Other Things to Remember
After you have worked through this checklist, don’t forget that you need to renew your registration and place it in a visible spot on your boat. You should also have your boating license with you whenever you are on the water. Additionally, update your boating insurance policy to make sure you have the coverage you need for the season ahead.