After the long winter months, when a warm day in spring finally comes, all we want to do is slip our boat into the water and leave the dock. However after leaving your boat unused for that long, it usually is not that simple. To get you back out in the water, here are some key areas to check when it finally comes time for spring.
1. The Engine
You probably won’t get too far if your boat engine is not working properly after those many cold months. Be sure to check your oil and filter; if the oil or filter was not changed before winter, it is probably in your best interest to change it now. It is also a good idea to let your engine warm up for a few minutes after that first spring crank.
2. The Battery
Check your battery and be sure it is full of water! A dry battery is a bad battery, so if there is no water left you should replace it. The amps and volts should also be checked and may need to be replaced, as well. Make sure all wires are in good condition as well and terminals are free of corrosion.
3. The Cooling System
You should have emptied your cooling system for the winter, so now is the time to fill it back up. Empty out the strainer and examine the hoses for any cracks. Replace them if you find anywhere leakage could occur.
4. Fuel System
If you did not put an additive in the gas before storing your boat for winter to prevent contamination or fuel separation, drain your fuel tank. Give your fuel lines a thorough inspection and change the fuel filter if you did not change it before winter.
5. Boat Belts
Make sure your boat belts are tight; you should only be able to push it down slightly. Belts that are not tight will wear faster because they will begin to slip, so tighten them as needed.
Some other things to consider are:
-Changing the spark plugs
-Lubricating the engine with WD-40
-Testing the bilge pump
-Inspecting the propeller
-Testing the horn
-Inspecting personal flotation devices
-Checking expiration dates (fire extinguishers, etc.)
-Checking that ropes and anchors are in tact (not dry rotted)
-Testing helm and cabin switches
-Testing your radio, compass, GPS, and depth finders
-Cleaning the hull
We know how exciting it is when those first few warm days of spring start rolling in, so de-winterize your boat and get it running smoothly and properly so you can be on your way in no time.