After a long winter of waiting to get back out onto the clear blue lakes, the time has come.

But first, there are a few things to take care of. Here are 4 steps to cover before launching your boat.

 

1. Inspect For Any Damage

After being professionally stored with other boats or somewhere on your property, it’s important to perform a thorough inspection of your watercraft to see if there was any damage that occurred over the winter months. Especially if your boat was stored professionally, your boat should not have received any damage. However, there are a few popular circumstances which can occur during the storage months.

One situation to look for while taking your boat out of storage is the presence of a new boat guest. There are numerous stories of mice, wasps and other small pests looking for a warm shelter in the midst of a cold winter. Forgoing an inspection for these critters may result in significant engine damage once you attempt to start your engine for the first time.

Another situation to be aware of is the accumulation of snow on your boat covering. If you notice a large amount of snow was resting on top of your cover, this pressure could have produced extra stress on your boat’s windshield, stanchions or other support frames and caused cracks to form. Continuing to boat throughout the summer with these parts of your boat being compromised could prove dangerous.

 

2. Clean Up

After inspecting your boat for any damage which may have occurred, it’s time to clean up. Performing regular cleaning on your boat extends its life by preventing premature breakdown due to dirt, algae and other build-ups. Depending where and how you store your boat, the levels of cleaning you perform will vary between boat owners. Those with a sealed interior will likely focus more on the outer hull while those who store their boat in a location without any interior covering will need to clean both the inside and outside. For both situations, even though the boat is stored in an enclosed space away from winter weather, there can still be a buildup of dust and dirt that settled on the hull over the winter months.

 

3. Engine & Boat Controls

After ensuring that there was no damage to the boat while in storage over the winter and cleaning its interior and exterior, it’s time to make sure all of your operational equipment is in working order. The first item would cause a large problem if it died while in the middle of your boating time: the battery. Testing your boat battery to see if it carries a full charge is extremely important to do before dropping your boat into the water for your first ride.

Next, inspect your wiring and hoses to ensure no animal has gotten into these small spaces and chewed the wiring or any wire corrosion has occurred throughout the winter storage months. These seemingly small damages can end up producing extreme damage to your boat if they are not caught. Bad wiring can cause fires, chewed-through fuel hoses drain fuel into your storage area and old belts can damage engines.

Speaking of engines, performing a full inspection is highly recommended. Make sure all components are intact with no cracks or corrosion on them. If your boat was exposed to the cold winter weather, double check your belts to ensure they are not brittle or have cracks in them. Adding new oil is also a must-do task for your engine to run smoothly on your first boating excursion.

 

4. Proper Safety Equipment

Finally, once you have inspected and fixed any damage your boat may have received during storage, cleaned the interior and exterior, and ensured your operational equipment is in proper working order, it’s time to restock your boat with all needed safety equipment. Having the correct amount of life jackets, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment is the most important part of going boating. If your equipment is out of date or broken, it’s imperative that you purchase new, safe equipment for your boat.

Once you have completed these steps to taking your boat out of storage and preparing it for your first boating trip, it’s time to enjoy the open blue water. Once your boat ride is complete, choose an easy option to dock your watercraft. Whether you’re the proud owner of a PWC jetski, small or medium sized boat, or even a pontoon, check out our incredibly simple shore docking solutions!

See you on the lake!