If you're like most people who love spending as much time as possible on the water during the summer months, you may have recently purchased your own private watercraft. This approach makes sense for those who live close enough to a boat-friendly body of water to be able to easily go boating on weekends and even during some evenings during the week. Now that spring has finally shown up, you're probably looking forward to that first beautiful day on your local lake or river. If you're a first-time boat owner, however, you may not be aware of how to prepare your boat for seasonal activities.
Following are five things that you need to know about getting your boat ready for spring and summer fun.
Give it a Thorough Once-Over
Carefully going over the inside and outside of your boat helps ensure that it's ready to go when the time comes. Look for any holes, cracks, or other damage that could potentially curtail your fun. This should be minimal or even nonexistent if the boat was put away properly last fall, but it's still a good idea to perform an overall surface checkup.
Scrub it Down
After determining whether cracks or holes exist and repairing them if you find any, the next thing you need to do is give your boat a thorough scrubbing. This removes any accumulation of dirt or grime that has built up during the winter and provides you with the opportunity to remove any mold or mildew colonies that may have become established. Use a soft-bristled brush and a mild detergent mixed with warm water, and be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove any detergent residue.
Make Sure Your Safety Equipment Is in Good Working Order
The next step should be to make sure that your safety equipment is working. Test out your flares and fire extinguishers to make sure you can count on them if the time comes when it's necessary to use them. Also, check life vests for any holes or other issues, and make sure that your onboard first aid kit is well-stocked with bandaids, bacterial ointment, antihistamine tablets, medications designed to reduce symptoms of motion sickness and other types of stomach upset, over-the-counter pain relievers, distilled water, hydrogen peroxide, and a first aid handbook. Keep in mind that boating injuries typically occur in areas that are relatively far from immediate medical care.
Be sure to stock up on plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent — it seems you can never have too much of these on a boat.
Check the Mechanicals
Make sure the mechanicals on your boat is all good to go before planning that first day on the water. Make sure that its steering cables are tight and free of leaks and that the fan belt is in good condition and has the proper amount of tension. Check the oil and coolant levels to ensure they're where they should be, and check the wiring to make sure it hasn't corroded over the winter months.
Check Your Trailer
No matter how good of condition your boat is in, you may not get to your favorite body of water if your boat transport is faulty. Thoroughly check your boat trailer to make sure the lights are working and that it has no loose parts. Make sure the hubs and bearings are intact and that the entire trailer hasn't lost any of its structural soundness over the winter. Don't forget to check the air pressure on the tires — if it's too low, that could cause unpleasant and potentially dangerous blowouts when you're on your way to the water, and that's no way to begin a summer boating season. If you need help transporting your boat or checking your transport, contact services such as Safe Harbor Haulers.