March 1, 2017
Most boats will need a really good cleaning after their winter storage. Start off with a general overall cleaning of your boat. Scrub and protect the interior seats and vinyl, do not use a citrus cleaner as this breaks down the vinyl over time. Make sure to apply a UV protection product on the vinyl, after cleaning. Clean and oil any teak wood. Wipe out all cubbies, scrub the deck, clean windows, polish chrome and metal, clean canvas covers/bimini top and give the hull a good clean. If last summer’s grime is still on the hull, give it an acid wash. If your gel coat is dull, give it a good cut polish and then make sure to apply a good coat of wax.
Check over your safety gear. Make sure your tool kit is complete and spare parts, like oil, are stocked. Check that flares are not expired and that your fire extinguisher is charged. Make sure you have everything on board to be compliant with the safety regulations and that life jackets, ropes, paddles etc are in good condition. Have your mandatory Pleasure Craft Operator card on board, as well as the registration for the Pleasure Craft license (the numbers on the front of the hull should match this registration and be in your name). Check your sacrificial anodes, especially if you keep your boat in the water. If they look rough, that means they are doing their job, but if they look too thin or may break soon, replace as necessary.
Summerize your engine. It is best to bring your boat in to a certified marine technician to perform this service. During the summerize service the technician will: charge your batteries, install drain plugs on the engine, connect all hoses, check engine and gear oils (change as necessary), run up the engine to temperature and visually check over while operating, check controls and steering, check forward and reverse, check electronics (navigation lights, horn, bilge pump, blower etc) and install the transom drain plug. The cost for a basic summerize (excluding oil change) runs from $100 – $150.
Give your trailer a once over. Check brakes, tire pressure, grease bearings. Check condition of rollers or bunks and the safety chain. Check for the current registration on the plate and test the trailer lights.
Finally, prepare to launch your boat and enjoy making those special lifelong memories with your friends and family this boating season!
Article Contributed by