The spring warm-up is starting and we all know what that means: boat season is just around the corner! It’s time to get yourself and your boat out of hibernation-mode, and into spring cleaning mode. Here’s how to do it:
Check your fuel systems
- Prime your fuel system before turning on your engine
- Check external fuel components for signs of rot
- Your fuel hoses should still be firm, but flexible
Check your electrical systems
- Deeply charge your battery overnight with a slow charger
- Let it sit for 24 hours, then take it somewhere to be load tested
- Check for corrosion, and make sure you’re connecting your battery correctly, or else you may blow fuses. Either label the wires, or have a professional do so.
- Your battery’s terminals need to be clamped securely and covered, so that they can’t cause a short if something touches them accidently
- Make sure your battery itself is restrained and secured upright and in a well-ventilated area
Check your fluids
- Check your engine’s oil levels
- Inspect your bilge area for any fluid leaks
- Check your coolant levels
- Inspect power steering fluid levels
- Check transmission or outdrive oil levels
Now may also be the time to get your boat serviced with an oil change and outdrive service.
Check belts, cables, and hoses
- Check control cables
- Check the safety/kill switch
- When’s the last time you serviced or replaced your impeller pump?
- Look for signs of rot in your engine belts and hoses. Check to make sure they are all secure. When’s the last time you replaced them?
Check for safety
Are your navigation lights still working? What about your horn? Where’s your fire extinguisher? Is it still in good working condition? Do a check for lifejackets, make sure you can still locate your first aid kit and other essential safety supplies, including distress flag and throwable, floating cushion.
Do a deep clean
Your boat needs washing, waxing, and detailing — with marine-quality cleaning products. A new layer of undercoat paint may also be in the works. This is not a small undertaking, so either clear out an afternoon or call in the pros.