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Spring Boating Preparation and Maintenance Tips

January 20, 2014

While most boaters are stuck in the winter months waiting out the days until spring, I thought now would be a good time to find a good pre-season checklist to have your boat running smoothly for opening day and throughout the season. Nobody wants to be caught unprepared when that first warm day hits and all you want to do is jump on the boat and head to the waters!

I found a pretty nice breakdown with a solid pre-season boating checklist that everyone should consider. Yes, that includes those of you that are fortunate enough to live in warmer climates with year-round boating. It's actually easier for you to ignore these maintenance tasks since you never really have to fully winterize your boat to begin with.

Here is the full list posted here, and remember, these are all important and should be considered throughout the year as well to keep your boat out of repair and in the water:


Do a general cleaning of hull, deck and topsides using a mild detergent
Make sure drains and scuppers are clear
Put on a good coat of wax
Clean and polish metal with a good metal polish
Clean teak and oil
Clean windows and hatches
Clean canvas, bimini and dodger
Clean interior including bilges
Check spare parts and tools and replace as necessary
Make sure registration is current and onboard
Check and replace wiper blades if necessary


Check for hull abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc. and repair
Check and replace zincs
Check for blisters and refinish is necessary
Check rub rails
Check swim platform and/or ladder
Inspect and test trim tabs
Check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop
Check rudder and fittings
Touch up or replace antifouling paint


Check stanchion, pulpits and lifelines for integrity
Check ground tackle, lines, fenders, etc.
Check chainplates and cleats
Check hull/deck joint
Check deck, windows, and port lights for leaks
Inspect anchor windlass and lubricate
Clean and grease winches
Check and lubricate blocks, pad eyes, etc.
Check dinghy, and life raft


Check, test and lubricate seacocks
Check condition of hoses and clamps
Make sure below waterline hoses are double clamped
Check bilges pumps for automatic and manual operation
Check for oil in bilges
Check limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris


Check battery water level
Check/recharge batteries
Check terminals for corrosion, clean and lubricate
Check bonding system
Inspect all wiring for wear and chafe
Test all gauges for operability
Check shore power and charger
Check for spare fuses
Check all lighting fixtures (including navigation lights) and make sure you have spare bulbs
Check all electronics for proper operation
Inspect antennas


Sound signaling device
Check distress signals and expiration date
Check Pfds
Inspect life rings and cushions
Check fire extinguishers and recharge if necessary
Check and adjust compass
Check navigation lights
Check charts and replace as necessary
Check radar reflector
Check and replace first aid supplies
Check bailer and hand pump


Change oil & filters - have spare onboard
Check and change fuel filters - have spares onboard
Check and change engine zincs
Check cooling system change coolant as necessary - have extra onboard
Record engine maintenance log, especially date & hours of last oil changes
Check belts for tension
Check transmission fluid
Check and clean backfire flame arrestor
Check impeller
Check and clean water strainer
Check bilge blower


Checked for smooth operation - lubricate and clean as necessary
If equipped with treatment system, have chemicals on hand
Y-valve operation checked, valve labeled & secured


Flush water tank
Check water system and pump for leaks and proper operation
Check hot water tank working on both AC and engines
Check for tank cap keys on board
Check and clean shower sump pump screens


Check refrigerator, clean and freshen, operate on AC and DC
Clean stove, check that all burners and oven are working
Check microwave, if fitted

Replace spark plugs
Check plug wires for wear
Check prop for nicks and bends
Change/fill gear lube
Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb and tank for leaks
Lubricate and spray moveable parts


Check rollers and pads
Check and lubricate wheel bearings
Clean and lubricate winch
Lubricate tongue jack and wheel
Test lights and electrical connections
Check tire pressure and condition
Check brakes (if equipped)
Check safety chains
Check tongue lock

Check general condition
Look for wear and chafing
Check battens and batten pockets
Check all sail attachments
Inspect bolt rope


Check mast and spreaders for corrosion or damage
Inspect spreader boots and shrouds
Inspect rivets and screw connections for corrosion
Check reefing points and reefing gear
Clean sail track
Check rigging, turnbuckles and clevis pins for wear and corrosion
Inspect stays for fraying and "fish hooks"
Check forestay and backstay connections
Check masthead fitting and pulleys
Check and lubricate roller furling
Check halyards and consider replacing or swapping end for end
Tape turnbuckles, cotter pins, and spreaders

Barry suggested that we add three more items to the spring checklist. They are as follows:

Lubricate stuffing boxes, shaft and rudder logs
Empty water separator filters
Shock the drinking water tank. Barry suggests pool shock not bleach. Pool shock breaks down in a few days and then can be flushed out."

Source: Check out the full article here

This list was pulled from Check out their page for more safe boating instructions and other boating related articles.


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