Winter may be long and brutal, but it won’t last forever. Before you know it, spring will be here and you’ll be able to spend some quality time on your boat in the water. You’ve probably been dreaming of this since you put your boat away. To make the most out of your time and ensure that you are ready as soon as the weather warms up, it’s a good idea to get your boat ready in the spring. Below are the steps you’ll need to take to accomplish that goal.
1. Inspect and Wash Your Boat
The first thing you’ll want to do when you pull your boat out of storage is to do an inspection. Check the hull for any damage that might have occurred during the winter, and then climb into the interior. Since rodents have a tendency to get into places they shouldn’t, you’ll want to inspect the upholstery for any holes. You’ll also want to check the electrical, as many rodents enjoy getting into this part of your boat to make a home.
This is also a good time to make sure that all screws are tight and that the paint isn’t chipped or peeling. If your boat was stored on the trailer, make sure to inspect the trailer for any issues as well. This will include making sure that the tires are properly inflated and that your boat is securely fastened to the trailer. You’ll also want to make sure that the electrical connections for your trailer and truck are in good working order and your lights work. You don’t want to get a ticket while driving down the road.
If you find any damage, do what you need to get it taken care of and repaired. If your boat is still in good shape, then you can wash and wax it to ensure that the dirt and grime that collected over the winter has been removed. Not only will this protect your boat from getting scratched by dirt and debris, but it will also make it shine when you take it down to the water.
2. Check the Engine
If you winterize your boat before you put it into storage, then there shouldn’t be a lot you need to do when it comes to the oil and oil filter in your engine. If you didn’t take care of these before putting it in storage, then you’ll need to check these components and change them before you take your boat out on the water.
You’ll also want to check the battery to ensure that it has a full charge. If not, now is the best time to get it replaced or recharged. You’ll also want to make sure that the electrical connections from your boat to your battery are secure.
During this time, you might also want to inspect your well. Some of the things you’ll want to look for include making sure that hoses are secure and that belts and cables aren’t brittle. If there are any issues, take the time to tighten the hoses and get replacement cables and belts. You should also check the fluid levels to make sure they are topped off, as well as test the bilge pump to make sure it works. This is also the best time to make sure you replace the drain plug.
3. Make Sure You Have the Right Registration and Equipment
Getting your boat ready in the spring means that you have the right registration. If you are required to have stickers or other visible permits, then now is the best time to get these and affix them to your boat.
The other things you’ll need to check include your safety equipment. Make sure you have the right amount of life jackets on board. You’ll also need to check your first aid kit and ensure that it is properly stocked. You should check your fire extinguishers and make sure they are in good working order. Consider having them tested at the local fire department, or buy new ones that meet current safety standards.
You’ll also need to make sure your VHF radio is charged and ready to go—or that you at least have extra batteries on board to ensure that it works during an emergency. Now is also the time to check your navigation lights and the boat’s horn.
Once you have gotten your safety equipment taken care of, then you can check your other equipment to ensure it’s in good working order. This could include your fish finder, GPS or whatever else you take on your boat with you.
4. Add Your Other Equipment
Once you have ensured that the necessary safety equipment is on board and in good working order, then you can focus on getting your other boating equipment onto the boat. This might include your fishing poles, tackle box, knee board, water skis or whatever else you do on the water to have some fun. Keeping these in your boat will ensure that you don’t forget them when heading out to the water with your family and friends.
By placing these items on your boat in the spring, this also gives you the opportunity to examine them and ensure that they are still in good working order. If you have a damaged inner-tube or your knee board has a chunk missing out of it or your family has outgrown their wet suits (if you have to wear these when on the water), now is the best time to get them repaired or replaced.
If you’re like most people, when the weather gets nice, you want to be out on the water as much as possible, and you don’t want to waste time getting your boat and equipment ready. That’s why spring is the ideal time to get your boat ready. It gets you excited about the good times that are about to come, and it ensures that when warm weather finally arrives, all you have to do is attach your boat and trailer to your truck and head for the water.