Getting Your Boat Ready For Summer

June 01, 2018

This checklist will help you get ready for a summer of fun, adventure and most importantly boating. At Mclean Hallmark we believe in Solutions Beyond Insurance and that means helping you avoid risks by taking extra caution. To help you prepare for the boating season we created a checklist and some helpful tips to help you get ready for your first day of the season on the water.

First things first, your boat has been in storage for a while. Check to make sure that your boat doesn’t have any unwanted guests. Should you find mold, you will need to use a disinfectant of your choice, to rid your boat of it. Make sure to use a mask and gloves when dealing with bleach, ammonia or any other toxic substances.

Next, you will want to make certain that all your engine’s wires are not loose or tangled. If you didn’t change your engine oil before you put your boat away for the winter, do that, it will save you the hassle down the road. Check the oil in your outdrive to make sure everything is ship shape. In your outdrive there should be a magnet, check that to see if there is any metal on it. If there is, you will need to have a qualified technician that has been trained by the manufacturer of your specific outdrive look at it as well as replace the bearings. While you are there it would be smart to replace your oil and gas filters, if you haven’t since last year. Checking your engines cooling system is next, check for: low anti freeze, any excessive wear or tension on the belts and make sure to retighten your hose clamps. It is very important to always use Stainless Steel hose clamps, you can check if they are stainless steel by looking for any rust on them, stainless steel doesn’t rust). If your vessel is equipped with seacocks disassemble and lubricate any and all moving parts. Seacocks don’t always work and it is suggested that you keep wooden plugs available just in case. If your boat has a sea strainer, open it, clean it, and lubricate all moving parts the same as you would with seacocks. After that you will want to test your engine and make sure there are no weird sounds or issues.

Third, you are going to want to check to make sure your boat’s batteries are in working order. Check to make sure your battery is filled to the indicated level, with distilled water only.  You can use a battery tester to see the exact amps and volts your battery is discharging. If your battery tester isn’t telling you any amps or volts you might need to replace the battery entirely. If and when you recharge your battery you might want to remove it from the vessel prior, as a charging battery emits hydrogen gas which is explosive in certain conditions.

When you winterized your boat at the end of last season, whether you filled the tank or emptied it make sure you change your fuel filter and check for any cracks in the lines. It is not uncommon for the cracks to occur in winter temperatures. If your lines are cracked make sure you replace them with marine approved fuel lines. If your vessels engine is gasoline powered be sure to clean out the distributor as winter moisture and inactivity can cause corrosion. Once you’ve checked your distributor make sure all of your connections are completely and fully hooked back up. Now you should check your engines drive belt. To check if your drive belt is worn push down on it, if it moves significantly this means it is most likely worn out. Another way to check if your drive belt is worn, is if there is a pile of “soot” under the engine pulley. At the very least you should be replacing your drive belt every 5 years or 5000 hours of usage. It is always a good idea to keep a backup drive belt just in case.

Safety equipment on your boat is always a must. Make sure you inspect all life jackets, if they are faded you might want to consider replacing them. All other personal flotation devices should also be checked for wear and tear. If you have pumps on board your vessel take the time to check if they are still working and bring a bucket for bailing, just in case. It is necessary by law in many countries to have a fire extinguisher on board your boat at all times. Don’t skip this step it could save your life, make sure your extinguisher Is inspected annually.

Lastly, be mindful of the environment. When working on your boat there are many materials that can be harmful to the environment. Please don’t dispose of them in the water or in the regular garbage. Check to see if your marina or boat yard has a recycle program for fluids and toxic waste.

Thank you for reading this checklist and have a fantastic summer out on the water!