Follow These Tips for Spring Boating Preparation to Maximize Your Fun in the Sun
Spring has sprung! You’re champing at the bit to drop your hull in the water. Soaking up sun, casting a line, grabbing those skis, you and your friends lowering that swim ladder. To make the most of all that and more, though, be sure to prep your boat –as well as your cruising guests- in order to get the absolute most out of the coming summer’s boating fun. Spring is the season to begin boating preparation. Here are some tips to get your season started right.
Spring Boating Preparation Tips
Making sure that you’ve properly de-winterized the vessel’s engine is the first step. If the oil wasn’t changed prior to the boat’s winter rest, now is the time to do it. Include a change-out of the oil filter and the transmission fluid when you do. If your boat has an outboard, prepping its oils and inner workings is just as important. Cooling systems should be flushed and the antifreeze replaced with the appropriate water and coolant mixture. Also, check those batteries. You will likely need to replace them before dropping that hull back into the blue.
And speaking of the hull, be sure to give it a thorough once-over for cracks, blistering and chipping and repair as needed. Make sure the exterior of the boat is properly cleaned with a safe cleansing product. Marine supply stores will have a variety to choose from. Restoring the boat’s gel coat helps to prevent oxidation. You made need to repeat gel coat restoration during the summer, but it’s well worth the trouble. The best time to get started on the hull is during your spring boating preparation. It makes any further preventive hull maintenance go more smoothly.
Canvas and vinyl surfaces should be checked for rips and wear, and be sure to test every one of your electronics, from radio to depth finder, compass, GPS and more.
When examining your life jackets for wear and tear, do no scrimp. Quality matters with life jackets. If a jacket needs replacing, don’t hesitate to buy the better one, and make sure they all have bright coloring, have collar handles and sturdy strapping at the waist and crotch.
Above all, be conscientious about requiring that everyone onboard wears one. A boat should never be in the water without enough jackets to outfit everybody. And, too, all fire extinguishers and flares should be checked to assure they’re in good operating condition.
Now that your boat is prepped and ready, you’ll want to be aware of the abilities of everyone who is going cruising with you. After all, prepping on a boat doesn’t mean only getting the vessel ready. No doubt, you’ll have family and friends with a variety of boating experience, from many years to none at all. Regardless of your guests’ boating know-how, take the time to go through a rundown of boating fundamentals and safety measures.
Last, but not at all least: have a float plan and keep a weather eye. Assure that someone who isn’t going out with you is informed about all of your primary stops and anchorages, as well as your anticipated time of return. Be on the lookout for weather change-ups while you’re boating. It’s a good idea to recommend ahead of time that your passengers bring along clothes and footwear that will offer good protection in the event of a surprise squall or restless waters.
You want to have a great time when you’re out there. The best way to assure that is to makes sure prepping on a boat includes both your vessel and your guests before the hull even hits the water this spring. Then grab that sun block, pull out that rod and reel, and drop that swim ladder!