Fishing and Boating News, Information,
and Tips for the Outdoorsman around the USA
BOAT MAINTENANCE AND
Spring brings the warm weather and the annual
task of preparing your boat for another season of fun filled carefree boating. Some
attention and maintenance now could prevent some aggravation and down time during the peak
of the season.
The following checklist will serve as a basic
guide for performing the annual preparation on an outboard powered boat and trailer.
- Do a general all around
inspection and cleaning of
the deck, hull and topside using a mild detergent.
- Inspect and clear scuppers,
garboard drain, other
drains and bilge pump discharge.
- Apply a coat of good quality
- Clean and polish all metal.
- Clean and inspect canvas, covers
and bimini top.
- Clean and inspect bilges and
through hull fittings.
- Check all fittings secure.
- Lubricate all hinges, latches,
etc with the best
corrosion inhibiting lubricant you can buy.
- Check for abrasions, scratches,
and repair them.
- Check and replace zincs as
- Check swim platform and ladder.
- Check transducers, pitot and
through hull fittings.
- Check and lubricate seacocks.
- Check all hoses and clamps.
- Check bilge pump and float switch
- Check battery water level and
- Check terminals for corrosion,
clean and lubricate.
- Discard wing nuts and use lock
nuts and washers
- Inspect all wiring for corrosion
damage. Clean, repair or replace.
- Test gauges and all
for proper operation. Check for spare fuses.
- Inspect antennas.
SAFETY EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS
- Sound signaling device such as
whistle or horn.
- Distress signals - hand held
flares, smoke, aerial
flares, etc. Check expiration dates.
- Check life jackets and throwable
rings, cushions, etc.
- Check fire extinguishers and
recharge/replace if needed.
- Check first aid kit and replace
any used supplies.
- Check compass and navigation
- Check onboard toolbox to ensure
the tools you may
need are in it and stay there throughout the season.
ENGINES / FUEL SYSTEMS
- Change engine fuel filter and
filter/ water separator
- Check and change engine zincs.
- Replace spark plugs.
- Check plug wires for wear and
- Change and fill lower unit gear
- Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb
and connections for
- Lubricate and spray all moveable
- Check prop for dings and bends.
- Check steering and control cables
or power steering
system and fluid.
- Check power trim and tilt system
- Add a quality fuel stabilizer to
the fuel tank.
- Pull wheels and inspect /repair
brakes. Clean and
inspect or replace wheel bearings.
Repack bearings and hubs.
- Check rollers and pads.
- Clean, inspect and lubricate
- Lubricate tongue jack and wheel.
- Test and repair all running
- Check tires, check pressure and
- Check safety chains and coupler
It certainly can take some time -- and lots of elbow grease
to keep your boat, motor and trailer in top operating condition. But, it will keep
you on your way to a safe, and hopefully, hassle-free boating season. See you on the
|Now is the time to
winterize your boat for the period of inactivity between now
and next spring. The following list of items is intended as a
basic guide to protect your boat from sitting idle during the
cold, wet winter months.
Remember the whole purpose of winterizing your boat is to eliminate or minimize
problems found in the Spring which may delay the use of your boat or cost you money. Make
a habit of checking twice a month to see that the cover is in place and that no water is
Each year that you own a boat you will probably be able to
add to this list, items which you find need special attention
Hurricane Season -
Planning Ahead For Your Boat Is Essential!
You may have to prepare your
boat for Hurricane season. If you own a boat, the time to
prepare for hurricanes and storms is well in
advance. Boats have always been vulnerable in a hurricane
due to wind, wave action, storm surge, rain and collisions with other objects.
If you own a boat you should develop a plan for preparing
for a storm. First review your docking, moorage or storage contract for instructions that
may require you to take certain precautions or even leave the marina when a hurricane
Planning where your boat will best survive a storm and for
all the steps and equipment needed to protect your boat should be completed before
hurricane season begins. Dont wait until the last minute!
Securing your boat ashore will better the chances for your
boat to survive than if stored in the water. Many marina hurricane plans involve hauling
as many boats as possible. Smaller boats and those with low freeboard should be hauled and
stored ashore or put on trailers and transported inland. Boats stored in dry storage racks
have shown to be susceptible to damage and should be placed on trailers and moved inland
If you have no other choice but to leave your boat in the
water, it should be secured in a snug harbor. A harbor that is not overcrowded and with as
much protection from storm surge and wave action is highly desirable. In addition if you
plan on anchoring, check to see how much water you will be anchoring in and the type of
bottom. Anchors usually hold best in sand.
Another choice would be to take shelter in rivers, canals or
other waterways. Again try to pick an area which is not overcrowded and offers shelter
from the forces of the storm. Your mooring could and should be made up of an assortment of
anchors and lines tied to trees, pilings or other structures. The more correctly applied
anchors and lines the better.
If your boat is left at a dock you will need to develop a
plan to secure your boat using more, longer and larger lines than normal. These lines will
actually suspend your boat away from damaging contact with other structures. Secure your
dock lines to sturdy points, pilings cleats, etc., and protect lines from chafing with
chafe gear at points of contact. The lines will resemble a spider web with your boat in
the center when done. Care must be taken to make sure that the boat is allowed to rise and
fall with the storm surge and be buffeted by the wind but still remain in its berth.
Boats left on lifts and davits are also susceptible to
damage. Even raised to their highest point, boats on lifts and davits can be damaged by
storm surge, rain and wind. Always remember to remove the drain plug to allow the
rainwater to drain and not collapse the lift or davits with the added weight. Note: with
the drain plug removed the rising storm surge will fill the boat with water. Water damage
will occur but it will probably suffer less structural damage than if it were left
floating and buffeted against a lift or davits.
If your boat is a trailer boat the best protection is to
move it inland and away from the storms path. Always check your trailer and keep it
properly maintained so if and when you need to move because of an oncoming storm, you can.
If you plan to leave your boat in an area, which may be hit by the storm, there are some
things, which you can do. Let air out of trailer tires and chock the wheels to prevent the
trailer from being moved by the wind. Leave the drain plug in and add water with a garden
hose to increase its weight so the boat will stay on the trailer. (Note: Add blocks of
wood between the springs and trailer frame to prevent collapse.) If available, also secure
trailer to any structure which will restrain it from moving, such as a large trees or
Wherever you keep your boat during the storm, always
remember that its best chance to survive was planned and that plan carried out well before
the storm approached.