Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means – it’s time to take the cover off the boat! As tempting as the rays of sunshine might be though, your boat is going to require some TLC before your first summer trip out. Regardless of how or where the boat was stored, it is still essential to perform a check-up and routine maintenance.
Below, you will find a few important tips that will help you prepare your boat just in time for summer:
5 Key Points to Get Your Boat Ready for Summer
1. Battery Testing
For boats that have batteries, many of the components rely on the battery in order to function properly, so checking the battery should be one of your first steps. Getting out on the water without doing so beforehand could put you and your passengers at risk.
The first thing you should check for is corrosion, even if the battery was stored in a cool, dry place. If the battery, battery cables or terminals show signs of rust of corrosion, it is important that you clean it all away. You can do so using a wire brush and a mixture of baking soda and water.
Then, you’ll want to test the battery using a multimeter. As a rule of thumb, boat batteries should be replaced every 4-5 years, so if you are approaching the threshold and your battery strength is questionable, it’s time for a new one.
If you have a maintenance-free battery, you’re good to go. If your battery requires maintenance, you will want to make sure the battery is topped off with distilled water.
2. System Check
Once you’re confident that the battery is healthy, it’s time to test your engine. Begin by draining your tank of any old fuel if you did not do so before winterizing. While doing so, check the fuel lines for leaks or damage. If applicable, change the oil, fuel filter(s) and water separator as well. Then, power up and check for any abnormalities, electrical or otherwise, that may arise. This includes, but is not limited to, malfunctions or issues related to the console and electronics, lights, water pump, bilge pump, ventilation and/or exhaust system. You should be checking for damage, corrosion, leaks, rust, and/or blockages.
It is also important to note that every 6-7 years, you should have your boat’s engine and complex systems inspected by a professional for potential issues.
3. Safety Items Scan
Unforeseen things happen all the time and this is one of the reasons why your safety items should always be in order. Life jackets are one of the most important items to have onboard, not only for yourself but for any individuals that may be joining you. Make sure that the life jackets have the proper weight classes and that there are enough for all your guests. Be sure to check them for rips and holes.
Fire extinguishers should also be inspected, making sure they are full, not expired and that they are within reach, in case of an emergency. Flares are another indispensable item and just like in the case of fire extinguishers, they should also be within their expiration dates and within reach. If applicable, check your carbon monoxide detector as well.
The first aid kit should also be checked thoroughly, in order to make sure that it’s fully equipped for any emergency.
Lastly, ensure that your backup emergency communication tools are stocked and functional. You should have a radio, flare gun and locator beacon.
4. Cleaning & Cosmetic Inspection
Now that your boat’s inner workings are in tip-top shape, it is time to check for cosmetic damages, debris and dirt. This includes the hull, seats, deck, boat top and boat cover. Inspect fabrics and upholstery for mold or mildew, as well as tears. Check the hull for scratches and grime.
With everything now properly inspected, you can begin the repair process and then give your boat a thorough cleaning. If you’re in a place to do so, you can also check on getting a new paint job for the bottom of your boat, giving it a nice, new summer suit.
5. Trailer Assessment
Last but not least, don’t forget about your trailer. It would be a bummer to spend all that time getting your boat ready for the summer, just to realize on boat day that your trailer isn’t prepared!
For starters, check the pressure on all the tires, including the spare. You will also want to check the lights. Lastly, give the wheel bearings a once over for rust and weird noises.
These are a few of the most important things you have to take into consideration when preparing your boat for the summer season. Taking care of your boat regularly and prepping it for the seasons will prolong the life of your boat, while maintaining a safety level that is sea-worthy.
If any of this seems too daunting to do yourself, please feel free to bring your baby in for maintenance at one of our convenient locations.
High Tide & Tight Lines!