Now that ideal weather conditions are finally back, you’re probably pretty excited to get your boat ready for summer and back on the water. We’re happy to help you launch into a safe season and extend the life of your boat with this roundup of boating maintenance tips! Before you begin, we recommend having your manufacturer’s Owner’s Manual nearby and ready to reference. At any point, don’t hesitate to share concerns about mechanical, electrical, or similar marine safety matters with an authorized dealer. Presuming that you winterized your boat properly, here are some key things to attend to before enjoying your boat to the fullest this season:
Check Your Battery
You’re hopefully going to get about four to five years out of your battery. Carefully add distilled water to your marine battery, then check the charge. If the battery tester indicates the charge is strong then you’re on your well on your way! With wires safely removed from the charge posts use a small wire brush to remove rust or grime.
De-winterize Your Engine
Did you change your oil before storing your boat (including outdrive oil)? If so, take a look to see if an oil top up is necessary to bring levels to the correct point, or change it now if you need to. While you’re at it, check your coolant and power steering fluids too. Be on the watch for visible crack or wear to the fuel lines, or any leaking around the engine.
Flip the Switch(es)
Now is the time to test your electronics, especially in the helm and cabin, even seemingly unimportant ones – it’s all connected to the same system. Your battery should now be running so try switching it off. Is your automatic bilge pump working? It should be. If not, you’re in for some troubleshooting, and may need the help of a technician.
Did you flush the cooling system before putting your boat away? Then you’ll need to refill equal amounts water/antifreeze. If you didn’t drain it before the winter, drain and refill accordingly. Be on the lookout for cracks, and wear and tear to hoses.
Fuel Lines and Gas Tank
These areas are quite susceptible to rust. If you filled up your gas tank before storing it, then this hopefully means no moisture has gotten in. The fuel lines are vulnerable to cracking in cold weather, so have an extra close look, and get them replaced if need be.
Your motor and engine belts can wear even in the off season. See if you can manually detect any tears. If you push lightly on the belt, you may observe excess slack, which means it could be time for a new one.
Most important of all, have the right safety equipment at the ready in the event of an emergency. This means equipped with fire extinguishers (that have not expired), having the right number of life jackets, lights are all working properly, and signal equipment is organized (like flares, horns, or whistles). Always make sure to have your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) with you, and available for an enforcement officer to potentially inspect – forgetting or not having it available is an offense in Canada.
As you can see, maintaining your boat does take a bit of dedication, but it’s a labour of love, right? Once you get the key maintenance out of the way this spring, you’ll be in for a smooth (and hopefully extra sunny) summer ahead. Bon Voyage!
Is your marine insurance up to date? If not, we can help. Contact one of our specialists today.