If you’ve been utilizing boat storage, here are 6 tips to be sure your boat is seaworthy when you pull it out of storage and prepare for summer fun.
Summer’s here. It’s time to pull your boat out of storage and hit the water. Make sure you prep it, though, before you take off on your maiden voyage.
- Give the boat a thorough visual inspection. Check screws, bolts and fittings to make sure they are secure. Also make a note of any dents, scratches, cracks in the hull or loose rivets. Deal with any necessary repairs before launching your craft. If you have a wooden boat, check carefully for rot. Pay special attention to the waterline, the transom and under decks that might have retained moisture. Be sure the drains are clear and the drain plug is secured.
- Clean and wax the boat. Even if you washed the boat before storing it, dust and dirt are inevitable. Use a mild detergent to clean both the interior and exterior. That includes running a vacuum and power-washing the bottom. Give the surface a coat of wax to protect it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. If you use bottom paint, apply a fresh coat. Don’t forgot to reinstall the plug mount with marine caulk.
- Check the engine and electrical components.
- Inspect electronics for corrosion. Either replace corroded components or use a wire brush to clean them.
- Examine the fuel system for leaks. Inspect belts, hoses and cables, and replace any that are cracked or brittle. Make sure the belts are tight, as well. Black residue near the pulley could signal a worn or loose belt. Be sure exhaust and ventilation systems are functioning properly.
- Reinstall the battery if it’s been removed, and test it to see whether it’s charged. Once it’s ready to go, make sure all lights, pumps and gauges are working properly.
- Fill up the fluids – coolant, brake fluid and transmission fluid – and change the oil. You fuel tank has likely collected moisture while sitting in storage (creamy oil indicates water), so drain the tank and refill it with fresh fuel. Check the oil, fuel and air filters. Replace if needed.
- Install fresh spark plugs.
- When you’re ready, turn on the engine and let it idle. If you hear anything abnormal, consider hiring a professional to repair it.
- Make sure the propeller isn’t fouled, bent or disconnected. Check for vibrations that could harm your drive train. Check the bearings, and replace if needed.
- Inspect all safety equipment – first-aid kits, flares, fire extinguishers and life preservers – to be sure they are in good working condition. Make certain the fire extinguishers are the correct class for your vessel and are stowed properly. If you have kids, make sure they haven’t outgrown their life vests. Be sure your handheld VHF radio is charged, there are fresh batteries in sound-signaling devices, and your distress signal haven’t expired.
- Inspect your trailer. Make certain the turn signals and brake lights are working. Check the winch to make sure it works smoothly, and check straps and chains for wear. Examine rollers and pads and check your tire pressure. Grease your bearings, and be sure your registration is current.
Once everything is good to go, it’s time to enjoy the water. We wish you safe, smooth sailing!
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