For many, springtime heralds the return to water recreation. In our eagerness to get the boat and family out on the water again, doing so safely can best be summarized by some sage advice from Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
“As simple as it may seem,” says Bruno Vassel, owner of the online boating store iboats.com, “we hear stories every spring of boat owners forgetting to reinstall the boat drain plug after removing it in the fall to let any accumulated water drain out.”
It’s not just that sinking feeling in your stomach you have as your just launched boat slowly fills up with water. Washing out and dusting off a winter’s worth of inactivity is as helpful for the boater as it is for the boat. Another quick tip from Bruno is, “Check that all your lifejackets still fit. Kids grow over the winter and parents may gain or shed a few pounds – be safe and sure that no one’s outgrown their life jacket.”
If you need to replace a life vest or two, springtime is often a great time to find savings on previous-year models – boat dealers often have a few left over from last year and sell them dirt cheap to make room for the new models coming in.
According to the United States Coast Guard, in 44% of the cases, the primary problem with a boat when people are injured and require medical treatment was due to engine failure. Keeping your boat running efficiently and safe requires a little extra time in the early spring. The spring boating tips, provided here by iboats, is a general “ounce of prevention” checklist to follow when readying your boat for that long-awaited, safe playtime on the water.
Spring Boating Checklist:
- Exterior Inspection – Visually inspect the outside of your boat, looking for any cracks, dings or damage and repair if necessary. Tighten all screws and bolts.
- Outdrives & Outboards – Inspect your boat prop, lower drive fluid, hydraulic cables. Check rubber outdrive bellows for wear or tears. Add grease to all grease fittings.
- Engines and Fuel Systems – Check all hoses, hose clamps and belts. Check oil level. Check for leaks. Check and clean all electrical and battery connections. With the proper water flushing unit attached, start your engine and run it for several minutes to allow the fluids to work through all engine components.
- Interior Components – Check steering cables, gauges and electrical components for any loose connections. Check seats and flooring.
- Trailer – Check and grease wheel bearings. Inspect all brake lines for wear and leaks. Check all trailer wiring and lights. Test the lights for braking, turn signals and running lights.
- Legal Documents – Check all your legal documents, registration and insurance papers that they are current and up to date.
- Cleaning – Give your boat a good cleaning using recommended waxes and cleaners.
- Coast Guard Requirements – Ensure all the required USCG safe boating items are on-board and working properly