Boat Spring Commissioning
A properly maintained boat can provide years of enjoyment. While year-round protection and maintenance are crucial, a good spring commissioning can set your mind at ease. Here are a few reminders you may have missed while focusing on the oils, impeller and wax.
- Review boat records. Reviewing your maintenance records is a great way to start the season. Although having a good memory of what work has been done is great, recalling what year you did it can quickly slip away. It’s best practice to check the manufacturer owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with recommendations for your boat, motor and generator. Recording the manufacturer’s recommendations and proper cataloging of services you performed in a ship’s log or maintenance manual will keep the guessing games to a minimum, keeping you out of the slings and off the trailer.
- Check battery fluid. Make sure the battery fluids are at their proper levels. This simple task can keep your wet cell battery from shorting out internally and wreaking havoc to your boat’s electrical systems. Absorbent glass mat (“AGM”) batteries typically used in boats need to be charged slowly. If they weren’t on slow chargers over the storage period, a slow, deep charge is required to bring AGM batteries back to life.
- All hands on deck. The deck hardware and thru-hulls have sealant which deteriorates from the sun, harsh cleaning chemicals, and time. Making sure hardware such as thru-hulls, hatches, windshields, rails, and snaps are properly bedded in sealant can prevent premature deterioration of wood structural reinforcements and keep water from leaking into the cabin or hull.
- Inspect the hoses. Rubber hoses, propeller shafts and rudder packing should be inspected and serviced regularly. If not properly seated, the shaft packing can rub the shafts wearing unevenly, allowing leaks. The rubber hoses that carry liquids in and out of the vessel can also rub hard motor parts, chaffing holes in them. Replace or remount hoses at any signs of chaffing or cracking. This will help prevent sinking, motor damage, and dangerous carbon monoxide inhalation from leaks and wear. If you’re not sure, you can always check with your mechanic.
- Don’t forget about the trailer. One of the most overlooked tasks of boat ownership is trailer maintenance. While getting your boat ready for the season, don’t forget to spend some time with your trailer. Brake fluid, wheel bearings, lug nuts, and trailer lights need to be serviced. Close care should be considered on the trailer tires. Check tires for any signs of dry rot, cracking or tread separation, tire pressure, and wear. Rubber tires can often dry crack before the tread has worn out, requiring replacement. Tires are date coded by the manufacturer so you can track their age. When it’s time to replace them, ensuring proper load range and tire size for the weight of your boat will keep you off the side of the road.
For information only. Not applicable to all situations.