In just a couple of short months, the ice will have completely melted away from the lakes and rivers, and the 2021 boating season will officially begin. It’s an exciting time for everyone, particularly as the 2020 season was impacted significantly by Covid-19.
Before getting out on the water again, it’s important to make sure that your boat is in tip-top condition, with every part functioning the way it’s meant to. The best way to do this is to create a list that you can check off as you inspect your boat.
Your Boating Checklist
Pre-season boat maintenance is vital as it can prevent accidents on the water, or your boat season being cut short by repairs. There are certain maintenance tasks that need to be completed every year, and so compiled this boating checklist to help make sure you’re water ready.
Register your boat for the current season
No one wants to have to delay their boating season due to paperwork, which is why it’s best to get all of this sorted as soon as possible. Allow extra time for any unexpected delays and double check the requirements for your type of boat. If you have insurance, make sure it’s all up to date.
Inspecting your boat
Depending on where your boat has been stored over the winter season will change how many repairs will likely be required. Yet even the most professional boat storage facility can’t guarantee a boat in pristine condition, which is why a thorough inspection is needed before you go near the water. When conducting your checks, it’s best to start from the inside and work your way out systematically. Note down anything the looks damaged and whether you will require an expert to look at it. If in doubt, always get your system looked over by a professional. Once the inside has been looked over, it’s time to check the exterior. In particular, look for any major holes or cracks that need repairing, but also note if any rustproofing is required. It’s best to do it now than once the season has already begun!
Not everyone’s favorite job, but it has to be done. This time it’s best to start on the outside with exterior hull cleaning and waxing. Not only does this make your boat look brand new, it can also show up any small patches of damage that may have been missed. After this, the interior will need a good clean as well. This includes chairs, flooring, and rails – not only does it feel good to get into a clean boat, but it also gives you a chance to do an even closer inspection.
While you may have not noticed anything obviously wrong during your initial inspection, an important part of boat maintenance is making sure that all mechanical and electrical components are functioning properly.
- Look at your battery. If it was left in the boat over winter, it will need a good charge to get it going.
- Check your hoses and cables for any kinks or hard spots where they might have become brittle due to freezing. Ensure all belts fit tightly around pulleys.
- Test all of your lights from stern to bow.
- Check and test the automatic and manual functions of your bilge pumps.
- Grease the fittings that your manual recommends and tighten any loose screws or bolts.
- Check your fluid levels. If you didn’t remove fluids before wintering your boat, you will need to replace all engine oil, oil filter, and drive lubricants.
The most important thing to check before going out onto the water is your safety equipment. Ensure you have lifejackets stowed, maps and navigation equipment. Now is also the time to test that your anchor is secure and of the correct weight. Stow all your items in waterproof bags, and always pack some extra essentials such as towels and flashlights before you set off.
Prepare to Sail
Now that your boat is ready for the water again, the next thing you need to do is to get it there. This is the point when you need to make sure that your dock is ready to go.
No matter what type of boat you have, a dock is a reliable way to get it easily and safely in and out of the water. If you need a new dock for this season, contact Roll N Go for flexible docking solutions