Ok, so it seemed like winter was never going to end. And judging by the number of boats that are still on blocks in the marinas, most Long Island boat owners apparently think it still hasn’t. That’s ok, there’s still time to get out there! Before you do, make sure you’ve prepared your boat for the season with these simple steps.
First, we’ll assume you’ve properly winterized your boat and always remember that maintenance is cheaper than fixing the problems that arise from not properly caring for your boat and its parts!
If you didn’t change your oil when you took the boat out for the season, do it now.
Clean your connections and apply some grease to prevent corrosion. Make sure the battery is fully charged and if it takes distilled water, top it off. Also check the ends of the cables to ensure they’re clean before reattaching them.
Change the plugs (if necessary), clean out or change the distributor cap, and perform a visual inspection of the engine. If you drained your cooling system in the winter to prevent freezing, fill it back up, rinse out the strainer, and check your hoses for cracks. Check the operation of your engine blowers. Once everything is in place, start the engine and check for water leaks and proper water flow from the exhaust.
Change the fuel filter and ensure the fuel line is attached and still intact with no cracks.
Replace your zincs every year (sometimes mid-season changes are also required). Corrosion is a boat’s worst nightmare, and once it starts there’s no stopping it.
Inspect the rudder, shafts, and prop, check the trim, and repaint the sterndrive if necessary.
Inspect your personal floatation devices, check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher(s), test the lights, make sure your paperwork is all in order, and inspect and/or test your signaling devices (horn, flares, smoke, whistle, etc.).
These are suggested tips only and each boat may vary in the full scope of items required to get it ready to get back on the water. Proper winterization plays a large part in ensuring a smooth transition in the spring, and it’s always a good idea to keep a detailed service log. Most importantly, always refer to your service manual for complete details on proper maintenance procedures for your particular boat.