Now is the time to prepare your boat for the season so you can hit the water running when the weather turns mild. Besides a thorough cleaning, here are just a few points to keep in mind.
- Safety First! Check the safety equipment for operation, condition and expiration dates. Replace any flares that have expired and call local authorities for proper disposal.
- Documentation. Check any boat operation certificates, registration, insurance, fishing/boating licenses and the like to see if they’re up-to-date. Gather the documents, make copies for home, and place the originals in a heavy-duty zip-lock bag and keep them in a convenient place onboard.
- Boat Batteries. If your boat is a few seasons old, you should consider having the starting/accessory batteries load tested by your dealer before reinstalling in the boat. The load test will identify batteries nearing the end of their useful life.
- Safety Equipment Batteries. Boats equipped with CO monitors, smoke detectors, handheld radios and the like may be equipped with non-replaceable batteries and should be checked for the expiration date.
- Corrosion Protection. If you boat in salt, brackish or polluted waters, it is imperative to check the condition of boat & engine anodes and the bottom paint. If left unchecked, corrosion can ruin your boat very quickly!
- DC & AC Electrical Systems. Check each and every circuit for proper operation, especially safety-critical lighting, blowers, and pumps. Visually inspect wiring for damage and corrosion; verify connections are clean & tight.
- Fuel & Water Systems. Visually inspect these systems thoroughly from end-to-end for deterioration and loose or missing clamps.
- Electronics. Check the manufacturer’s website for software updates. If you are unsure about installing updates, have your dealer do it for you. If you have apps for some components, check for updates.
- Standard Gear. Many boaters keep tools, parts, lines, etc. on board at all times. It’s good practice to look at the condition of these items before the season starts.
- Propulsion. Refer to the engine/drive owner’s manuals for pre-season checks & maintenance.
- Operators. Have all drivers take a boating safety refresher course and get a Vessel Safety Check if available.
If you remember the 6 P’s, you’ll have a safe and enjoyable boating season!