Spring Checklist for Preparing Your Boat for the Summer in CT

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Spring Checklist for Preparing Your Boat for the Summer

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It’s now time put some work into getting your vessel ready to launch.

Whether you are relatively new to the sea or a seasoned skipper, you need to have a game plan for getting your boat ready – from basic spring boat maintenance to tackling projects reserved for out of the water.

Below we’ve compiled de-winterization steps you’ll need to take to get your boat ready, as well as more general safety and maintenance tips.

Before reading this it is important to note that there are many types and sizes of boats, as this will cover a lot of steps for preparation, you should create your own spring checklist based on the complexities of your particular vessel; just be sure to consult your Owner’s Manual if you are a do-it-yourselfer.

For starters, safety first!



Inspect your life jackets to make sure they are in good condition and do not need to be replaced.

Make sure each person that gets on the boat with you wear a life jacket that is their size and is made for their exact body weight.

Check the fire extinguishers present in your boat to determine if they are the correct class for your boat. Ensure they are charged and placed in their proper location on the boat.

Make sure the carbon monoxide detectors are installed in all enclosed and partially enclosed areas on your boat. Ensure they work properly.

If you do not have one already, you should invest in an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), as they are useful in the event you get lost at sea.


Now let’s get into some pre-launch maintenance and inspection


Ensure the shaft seal is not wet when you dock your boat.

Examine deck fittings, hatches, and portlights. You are looking for displaced caulking, dirt, water trails, and green corrosion. If you find any leak, you need to re-caulk them.

Examine the GPS and VHF antenna connections. Disconnect, spray it with a moisture displacing lubricant, and reconnect.


Docked Boat Inspection



Change the plastic fittings close to the waterline with Marelon or bronze.

Examine the outdrive, anodes on the shaft, and trim tabs, replacing any that have become worn out.

Examine the props for distortion, pitting, and dinging. Ensure the cotter pins are secure. Move the shaft by holding the prop and if it is loose, replace the cutlass bearing. Inspect the rudderstock to ensure it is not bent.


Fuel System Inspection

Check the engine, ventilation, and exhaust systems to ensure they proper functioning.

Do not pump until you fill your tank with fuel. The fuel should not contain over 10 percent ethanol because it will cause malfunctioning.

Examine the fuel system for damage or leaks. Check out the connections, tank surfaces, and fuel hoses for leaks. Brittleness, softness, and cracking are all evidence of a fuel hose that needs to be replaced.

Replace components if necessary and double check to ensure the clamps and fittings are secured.


Engine and Other Systems Inspection



Change engine oil and check the fluid levels in the transmission, coolant, and hydraulic steering fluid.

Examine belts for wear and tension.

Examine the outer jacket. You are looking for swelling and cracks. If you find cracks and swelling, you need to replace the cable. You can apply waterproof grease at the ends.

Gasoline lines should state “USCG Approved, J1527” because if they do not, replace them.

If the raw water impellers are more than a year old, you need to replace them.

Inspect freshwater and raw-water for seepage. If you find seepage, you need to replace a gasket.

Look at exhaust manifolds. You are looking for water seepage and corrosion. If you find either one of those, you have a blockage. If you find an issue with it, you need to remove the exhaust manifolds.

Replace fuel filters and clean or replace the air filter.

Replace the gaskets located at the heat exchanger. You should replace them each year, as doing so, prevents corrosion. By replacing it, you can check for gunk that clogs up the stacks.


Topsides, Hull, and Deck Inspection



Apply antifouling paint. It is not a good idea to use copper-based paint to paint your running gear without applying a barrier coat first and do not paint your transducers.

Only wash non-skid areas, not wax them.

Remove the tarp off your boat. Dry, fold, and keep it away. If you have covered your board using shrink-wrap, you can recycle it.

Apply antifouling paint. It is not a good idea to use copper-based paint to paint your running gear without applying a barrier coat first and do not paint your transducers.

You can also use an electric buffer. Examine the pad, removing debris from it. Keep moving the electric buffer because if you continue to use it on one area of the boat, it may create problems.

You need to wax your boat’s topsides with a marine paste-wax. Marine paste-wax will make your shine and protect it. Plus, in comparison to other products, it lasts longer.

You should place the drain plug before you take your boat out on the water.



How to Protect Your Boat from the Scorching Summer Heat?


1. Perform a Full-scale Cleaning


To perform a full-scale cleaning of your boat, you need to buy premium products that will maintain your boat’s surface and gel coat. You can treat and clean the interior of your boat using a vinyl cleaner and polish. It will prevent the interior material from flaking or cracking.

For recommendations on the type of products you should buy to clean your boat, you can ask other boat owners.


2. Apply Protectant


Protectant will protect the boat’s material and gel coat. It will prevent them from fading or oxidizing under the torturous heat of the sun. You should always use a heavy-duty product such as a polymer. You will need to reapply the protectant each time you take your boat out on the water.


3. Maintain Your Boat Regularly


When it comes to maintaining your boat, you should perform a general inspection of your boat on a daily basis. If you love your boat, looking after your boat will become one of your favorite things to do in the summer. You should buy cleaning products that contain polymers. Not only will it protect your boat from the harsh rays of the sun, but it will also protect your boat from harsh chemicals.


4. Always Cover Your Boat


You should always cover your boat when you are not using it. Leaving it exposed to the weather elements is a bad idea. The heat from the sun will increase the oxidation process. 

When you are coming back from the water, you should clean your boat before you cover it. You need to clean your boat to remove the salt, bacteria, and grime from it. 

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