Springtime is the perfect time to hop on your boat and take an adventure. Whether you’ve just bought your boat or are a seasoned sailor, you’ll need to prepare your boat for spring before you get going. To prepare your boat for a springtime sail, these twenty tips will come in handy.
- Check the well
First up, check your well to ensure that the cables and hoses are nice and secure. Give the bilge pump a test and see that there are adequate fluid levels. While you’re at it, take a look at your drain plug and see that this is secure too.
- Safety equipment
Before you set off on those spring boating escapades, you’ll want to make sure that you have all the right safety equipment. Ensure that you have first-aid supplies, flotation devices, extinguishers, and some flares.
- Engine check
Remember to take a look inside the engine compartment, to see that there isn’t excess water inside the bilge. While you’re at it, check the battery of your boat and recharge it if needed. You should also see that your battery is properly secured to your boat.
- Fuel tank
Fill up the fuel tank and check for adequate ventilation. While you’re here, ensure that there are no leaks in your tank. There should also be no water inside the fuel filters.
- Spring clean
To prepare your boat for spring, be sure to spruce up the hull of your boat. You can use a special hull and deck cleaner. There are plenty of great brands out there, including Star Brite and Dychem. Once your hull is all scrubbed up, use wax for extra protection and shine!
- Insurance coverage
Got your boat towing insurance yet? If not, it’s a wise move to get this sorted before you take yourself out on the waters.
- Check the seacocks
The seacocks are the values that allow water to flow into your vessel; this water is used for the toilet or cooling the engine, for instance. You should lubricate these values and then check that they work properly.
- Inspect limber holes
Limber holes are essentially drain holes that stop water from building up, and then let this water drain out to the bilge. You should remove any built up debris from these holes and check that they function.
- Inspect belts
Carry out an inspection of your belts to check for wear and tear or any fraying. Your belts should be aligned correctly, with no slipping.
- Fill up your cooling system
When you de-winterize your boat you should fill up your cooling system with antifreeze and water. If you left your water inside throughout the winter season, remember to drain this away first.
- Inspect your trailers
Take a good look over your trailers, including checking the frame for the signs of rust. Spring is a great time to sand your trailer and give it a lick of paint after it’s in the water. You can also repack the wheel bearings and ensure that the air pressure is correct.
- Sacrificial anodes
Boat anodes, sometimes called boat zincs, are used to protect certain metal boat components from corrosion. You should replace your sacrificial anodes if they have deteriorated.
- Dock & anchor lines
Conduct an inspection of your dock lines and your anchor lines; see that they aren’t chafing. It might be best to replace these lines if they are too worn.
- The mast
If applicable, inspect the mast for signs of damage or corrosion. Give the sail track a clean, inspect the rigging and check the turnbuckles.
- Inspect the deck
Take a look at the fenders and ground tackle to ensure that you can dock your boat sufficiently. While you are here, see that the cleats and the chainplates are both safe and secure.
- Safety vessels
When you are preparing your boat for spring you should look at your life rafts, dinghies, or the equivalent. It’s vital to know that these vessels are in the proper working order before you set off.
- Sail check
Take a look at your sails (if you have them) to ensure that these are sufficient. Don’t forget to see that the battens are maintained correctly.
- Nautical charts
Look at your nautical charts and your maps too, these should always be kept in date, so you can use them when on the waters.
- Navigation lights
Ensure that your navigation lights are functioning, fix them if they are not working properly (or you’ll regret it later)!
- Radar reflector
It’s important that your boat shows up on other radars. When you de-winterize your boat you’ll need to make certain that your radar reflector is still functioning.