Of course, like any vehicle, when you don’t use it for a long period of time, you need to make sure it’s good to go. Hopefully you will have winterized your boat and so the main work was already done well before the icy cold winter took hold.
Please find some tips below to help get your boat ready and back on the water:
If you have a metal tank, you will have already filled it up before winter. This is so that no moisture can find its way in and start rusting out the tank. If you are reading this and then realized that this could be a problem, it could be worth removing your gas tank and removing any possible rust with any one of a number of solutions and products available on the market such as Rustol, Frameto or Ferose.
In the case that you have a plastic tank or fiber glass, then you will have emptied it so that the moisture couldn’t acidify the fuel and melt the various parts of the tank that pose the risk of rendering it useless and the carburetor too. So, hopefully you will have done those steps already and in that case, start by adding fresh fuel.
Make sure that each bolt and nut is firmly tightened by going through each individual one. Clean off any mold that set in during the winter. Check oil and filters and always have spare filters with you. Check the fluid levels for your boat for the engine oil, power steering, coolant and trim reservoirs. While you can’t run an engine out of water because boat engines need water (think of them like the fish equivalent of cars), you can however trick them into running from your garage. To do this, you will need to purchase a motor flusher which will clamp onto your engine. You can attach your garden hose to the motor flusher and then turn your engine on and make sure it’s running. The last thing you want to do is plan a long weekend trip only to find that your engine isn’t working when you get onto the water!
Charge your battery before heading out. Just like any vehicle, the battery will drain after a long duration of it not being used. Give it a clean and make sure the terminals don’t have any corrosion or rust. To charge your battery, you can just use regular jump leads like you would with any vehicle. It may be worth buying a battery charger that you can take on board.
Clean out the hull, deck and topsides using a detergent. You should also add a new coat of wax. If you have any metal then make sure it gets polished. In general, just make sure that everything is as clean as you can make it. Besides, you want your boat to be looking its best!
Inspect all the safety equipment including but not limited to: fire extinguishers, flares, inflatable life boats, life savers, life jackets, fully stocked up first-aid kit. Restock, recharge and replace where needed. Check lights to ensure they are all in working order on the boat. Carbon monoxide detectors are always a good idea for any space that might be able to trap pockets of air. EPIRB or emergency position-indicating radio beacon are the way you can locate a boat when in distress.
This is a good chance to get your TIMEZERO software up and running on board. Check that the electrical wires that connect your hardware equipment such as radar and GPS are securely attached and waterproofed. If you find a wire that appears to be corroded, remove the wire and replace it. Get your hardware up and running and connect it to your TIMEZERO software. You could even do this from your garage.
A Note of Caution
Please keep in mind that every boat is different and for those that are preparing for spring for the first time, while all these checks are worth your while, equally you might want to take your boat to a boat mechanic/technician to ensure that everything is in running order. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
While this article provides an overview of preparing your boat for getting back onto the water, it is by no means exhaustive and doing as much research as possible is strongly advised.
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