Spring Maintenance Tips for Boaters!
Nothing beats a weekend on the water. Wind in your hair, sun on your face and that hum of your boat gliding through the water. Whether you love fishing, skiing or just cruising around the lake, it's important to keep your boat in good running order to avoid unwanted issues out on that beautiful water. Part of that is making sure you thoroughly inspect your vessel in the spring to get it ready for the season. Here's just a few tips that could help you get your boat water-ready this spring:
- Don't forget to top off lead acid batteries with distilled water (if applicable).
- Test running lights and replace bulbs if necessary.
- Open and close seacocks. They should move freely. Check all through hull fittings for looseness, deterioration, or aging sealant.
- Hoses for seacocks should be double clamped using stainless steel hose clamps with no signs of rust. Hoses should be flexible and show no signs of brittleness or cracking. Replace if needed.
- If the drain plug has been removed, make sure it is back in place prior to launching.
- Test high water alarms and bilge pumps.
- Inspect prop(s) for signs of wear, pitting, or bending. Check to make sure the propeller shaft is straight by turning the propeller by hand. If you notice any wobbles, check with a marine mechanic (repair shop, etc.) to see if this needs to be repaired or replaced. On outboards and stern drives remove the propeller to check for fishing line that may have become wrapped around the propeller shaft.
- Check anodes on prop shaft and trim tabs. Replace if they are more than half-way deteriorated.
- Check all outdrive bellows for cracking or tearing. Pay particular attention to the small shift cable bellows.
- Check lower end lubricant. Most manufacturers recommend changing this every year. If this lubricant is white, it indicates water intrusion and probably a bad seal.
- Check fuel hoses. These should not have any cracks, bulges, or soft spots.
- Inspect clamps on all hoses (fuel system, cooling system, etc.) If any show signs of rust or corrosion, replace them.
- Check fluid levels (engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant)
- On inboard and stern drive engines, inspect the exhaust manifolds for any rust or seepage around the exhaust risers. If any seepage is apparent they should be inspected by a marine service facility.
- Inspect raw-water impellers. Replace the impeller annually.
- • Make sure that the proper number of life jackets are on board according to your state guidelines.
For the most detailed instructions on care for your boat, please refer to the manual provided by the manufacturer. And remember, A couple hours before your summer launch could save you huge headaches later. After researching this topic, we picked up a couple of our own tips. A lot of boat owners say to have extra plugs on hand, just in case. Also, brushing up on a boater's safety class is always a good idea and if you have a Foremost policy, you may be eligible for a discount.
Source: "Foremost" and the "F" logo are registered trademarks of FCOA, LLC, 5600 Beach Tree Lane, Caledonia, MI 49316. Not all products and coverages are available in all states.