You know that spring has nearly sprung, but have you prepared your boat to put yourself back in the water just yet? If you’re a pro, you may have this down, but even if you’re not, here are a few great tips to help you get your boat ready for spring.
The Beginning of Getting Ready
Assuming you did everything you were supposed to before you put your boat away for the winter, the first thing you’ll need to do now is to let it thaw out. That means not running anything through the lines until you know you won’t cause any leaks.
You’ll also want to check on the battery. Over the winter, it should have been connected, and so should make it much easier to bring your boat or personal watercraft out of housing. Clean off any corrosion you missed before and you’re almost ready to get going.
Fuel is the lifeline of any watercraft, so ideally, you topped it off and added a stabilizer before putting it away. If not, drain your tank, and start over. The same can be said for oil.
Lastly, tighten up any bolts or screws that might feel a bit loose both inside and out, to make sure everything is nice and tight.
Spring Cleaning is Not Just for the House!
You’ll want to make sure you do a general cleaning with a mild cleaning detergent to get the hull, topsides, and of course, the deck. Once you’ve got your cleaning done, you’ll want to be sure that all of your drains are clear, too.
Don’t forget to put on a thorough coat of wax as it will also protect your boat from the water.
When it comes to the metal parts of the boat that are exposed, you’ll also want to make sure you treat everything with a quality metal polish and possibly a silicone spray. This will help ensure that the metal parts of your boat have a longer lifespan, too. After all, you don’t want to have to deal with rust prematurely!
If you have any parts of the boat that are exposed wood, you’ll want to treat them with oil if you have a teak deck, or potentially replace the deck with synthetic teak. There are benefits to both, so you’ll need to figure out what is going to work best for you.
As always, make sure you remember to clean the windows, canvas, dodger, bimini, bilges, and any spare parts that need it. If you come across any spare parts that need replacing, make a list and prepare to replace them as needed.
Safety is Important!
You never want to hear “man overboard” when you’re out on the boat with friends or family. If it ever happens, you want to make sure that your equipment is up to par.
Be sure to check your lifelines for strength and integrity. Don’t forget to check the winches, too, in case you ever need to pull something or someone in.
Always check for exterior leaks, too, because you certainly don’t want to get caught with a leak if you’re already out on the water or if you get stuck in a storm that you have to ride out.
Then there’s your anchor. Don’t forget to make sure that it is in working order along with any other lines, ground tackle, fenders, the life raft, and dinghy if you have one. Making sure that everything is safe and ready to go could make the difference between an “oops” and a devastating occurrence.
Special Care for the Hull
You need to make sure your hull is in working order because if you have any problems here, you’re probably not going to get too far depending on what those problems might be. Check this quick list to help you remember what you need to look for:
- Scratches or deep abrasions
- Any blistering that needs to be refinished
- The ladder and connecting platform need to be safe
- Verify rudder, shaft, bearings, and fittings are all in working order
- Check your sacrificial zincs and replace as needed
The Last Thing You Need to Remember
Double and triple check to make sure that your boat registration is both current and available onboard in the event that anyone asks to see it. The last thing you want is to have someone like the U.S. Coast Guard pull up alongside you and ask if you have your registration, only to realize you left it ashore when you took your boat out 5 hours ago.