Spring and summer are quickly approaching, and with the warm weather comes the best time of the year – boating season!
Before you get too excited and take your boat out for the first time this season, a few key steps will ensure you are setting yourself up for success and avoiding many common headaches that are the result of a lack of simple preparation.
Follow these key tips for prepping your boat for the spring and summer seasons, also known as de-winterizing.
The first step to prepping your boat for the season is making sure your boat’s engine is in good working order. Due to many moving parts, a lot can go wrong with a boat’s engine, and this is where many boat problems stem from.
Check fuel lines, fluid levels, belts, batteries, and electric connections, as well as your boat’s electronics such as radios and GPS to make sure they are functional. It also helps to check spark plugs and the propellor as well.
If you are not “mechanically inclined” and these things seem intimidating to you, seek out help from a local marine mechanic to inspect your boat to make sure it is ready for the season.
Take a Walk Around
Another key part of prepping your boat for the season is to just take a walk in and around your boat to make sure everything looks good so there will not be any surprises.
Check the hull for dings, scrapes, or holes. Inspect the trailer to make sure tires are properly inflated, springs and bearings look good, and there is not excessive corrosion. You will also want to look out for critters who may have called your boat home during the offseason, so check compartments and crevices for any stowaways such as rodents or insects.
Lastly, check to make sure you still have all the necessary safety equipment on board such as plenty of life jackets, signaling devices, and a marine-grade fire extinguisher.
Give it a Good Clean, Polish, and Wax
Cleaning, polishing, and waxing your boat will leave your boat looking brand new for the upcoming season, and it can help prevent things like corrosion and premature wear and tear.
Start the season off with a clean slate and have your boat spick and span so your first outing will be as enjoyable as possible.
Take it for a Test Drive
The last thing to do before you plan to take your boat out for a full-fledged day on the water is to take it for a test drive to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Start by launching your boat and letting it idle for at least 15 minutes to allow the engine to warm up after sitting for a long time, then start slow and periodically increase the RPM until you reach full throttle. Do this as slowly as possible for the best results.
During the test drive, take note of any problems you notice so you can address them before you plan to dedicate an entire day on the water.
Prepping your boat for the spring and summer seasons does not have to be complicated. The more carefully you winterize your boat, the easier it will be to get it ready for boating season.
Follow these simple steps and you can be sure to have a stress-free spring and summer boating season!