If you properly winterized your boat, fantastic! However, you still need to follow this checklist before taking it out of storage.
First step: Clean Your Boat
- Your boat has been sitting in storage all winter, so wipe down the interior, run the vacuum and power-wash the bottom
- Repair any dings, dents, scratches and gouges
- Apply a good coat of wax to protect the surface from UV damage
- If you use bottom paint, this is a good time to apply a fresh coat to keep slime and barnacles from damaging your hull
Second Step: Check for Damage/Rot
Pay special attention along the waterline, in the transom and under decks that might have retained moisture.
Clean and polish all bright work
Replace hull zincs
Clean and grease winches, lubricate the anchor windlass
Clean canvas, bimini and dodger
Check rudder, fittings, stanchion, pulpits and lifelines for wear
Inspect and test trim tabs
Go below deck and check hoses and lamps
Engine and Electrical Components
- Install fresh spark plugs
- If you didn’t change lower gear case oil last fall, do it now
- Check all other fluid levels
- Lubricate all moving connection
- Reconnect fuel lines (and tighten or replace hose clamps if needed)
- If you disconnected any electronics, now is the time to reconnect them and test each item before you launch. Don’t forget to take a look at your oil, fuel and air filters, and replace them if needed.
- Don’t forget to check safety equipment including signaling devices, fire extinguishers, hand pumps, first aid supplies and life preservers.
- Inspect your fuel system for leaks. Soft, brittle or cracking indicates damaged hoses that need to be replaced
- Charge your battery and test it to make sure it can still hold a charge
- Inspect your propeller for damage that can cause unwanted vibration and harm your drive train. Make sure the propeller is secured and replace the bearings if needed.
- Check belts and cables for wear. Black residue near the pulley could indicate a worn or loose belt. Cracking and swelling on control cable covering requires immediate attention.
- Be sure that you test your engine before you launch. Do this in an open, well-ventilated area (definitely NOT inside your mini storage unit).
Do not skimp on this very important step. At AMSkier Insurance Agency, we advise that you make sure essential safety equipment is in good working condition and that time-sensitive components haven’t expired. This can include first aid kits, flares, fire extinguishers and life preservers.
Make sure you don’t sink your boat before you make it to the water! Give your trailer a thorough inspection to avoid accidents on the road.
- Make sure the rollers or bunks on your trailer are in good working condition.
- Hook up and test your trailer’s turn signals and brake lights.
- Check the winch straps and chains for wear. You don’t want to lose your boat in tow.
- Check your winch and lubricate it if the movement is stiff or jerky.
- Make sure the latch on your coupler is working properly.
- Repack your bearings with grease.
- Finally, be sure your registration is current. Getting a citation on the way to opening day is a big buzz kill.
Okay matey! You have completed your checklist and you are ready to enjoy the water, but before you go, we have a few more tips to help you out!
At AMSkier Insurance, you can often enjoy the benefits of having all your valuables insured in one place. This allows us as your insurance agent to build a more complete picture of your needs. We write across 45 states, so no matter where you are, we can help identify the protection you need by reducing the potential for expensive “gaps” or unnecessary overlaps in coverage. Since we have your boat insured with us, we may very likely be able to get you a great rate on your home, your auto, your golf cart and more. Give us a call at (570) 226–4571 to learn more.
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