The days are getting longer and most boat owners have turned their eyes to the water, dreaming of endless days of fishing and water sports. Proper spring boat maintenance is imperative for a summer of fun, and putting the work in now means less costly repairs throughout the high-use season.
Even the most seasoned boaters need a checklist with a game plan for boat maintenance. We’ve compiled basic de-winterization boat maintenance steps, as well as some safety reminders to start your summer off right. Your list will be specific to the age and model of your boat and will probably morph through the years.
Pre-Launch Maintenance Inspection
After being in boat storage for the winter, a full-scale walk-around and inspection are in order before you put your vessel on the water. Examine deck fittings, hatches, and port lights for displaced caulking. Any place that water can enter or exit the boat, such as grab rails or antenna connections, should be thoroughly looked at so that corrosion does not occur.
Props, outdrive, shaft anodes, rudder stock, and trim tabs should be scrutinized for wear and tear. Any part that takes a lot of abuse can cause much larger problems later if it wears out. This is a prime example of how proper boat maintenance can save you money on repairs further into the season.
Fuel System Inspection
Scan the engine, ventilation, and exhaust systems to guarantee proper functioning and replace components as needed. The fuel system has many elements where corrosion and degradation can result in huge repair costs, so examine closely for damage and leaks and check connection and hoses for brittleness, softness, or cracking.
General Boat Maintenance
Keep your boat clean through the season and check belts and lines regularly to assure proper working order. Gaskets, fittings, and connections are key places for problems.
Replace fuel filters regularly and raw water impellers yearly. Regularly change engine oil and check the fluid levels in the transmission, coolant, and hydraulic steering systems.
To meet current guidelines, gasoline lines should state “USCG Approved, J1527.” Additionally, guarantee that you start the season off right by not pumping until you fill your tank with fuel. Note that the fuel should not contain over 10 percent ethanol because it will cause malfunctioning.
Check All Safety Equipment
Safety equipment needs to be inspected and replaced regularly to ensure it is in proper working order. When your vessel is still in boat storage, or while you’re undergoing a pre-season clean, it is a good time to pull all of your safety equipment out for a check. Life jackets are one of the most important safety devices on your boat. Check each one for wear and tear and also ensure that they are properly fitted to the people who ride on your boat most often. Remember that children have a tendency to grow quickly and their life jacket size should be fitted to their exact body weight.
Check all fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors to assure proper working order, and also ascertain if they are the correct class for your boat. Additionally, check all batteries and charging on radio equipment and consider investing in an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon if you have plans to head out on the open water.
Proper boat maintenance means the continuous checking of systems and equipment on your boat throughout the season. Covering your boat after use, performing regular visual checks, and using the proper cleaning supplies throughout the year will control wear and tear from weather and usage, and keep you ready for family fun.
Sea Chaser is committed to family fun, and building one of the best quality boats for a great price has always been our goal. Whether you’re looking for a pleasure boat, fishing boat, or runabout boat, Sea Chaser delivers the most in value, quality, and style. Find a Sea Chaser dealer near you today or visit www.seachaser.com to learn more.