After turning the corner into the new year, visions of warmer, springtime days of carefree boating probably have begun to flood your imagination. While dreaming of another great season of sailing, fishing, or pleasure boating only weeks away, you should also be thinking about what you must do to get your boat back in the water in pristine condition.
If you had put your boat away for winter storage and it was stored properly at the end of the boating season last year, the recommissioning should be a straight-forward task. In any instance, proper steps taken now will increase the likelihood of a trouble-free boating season.
Recommissioning your boat in the spring should not be taken lightly. Diligent inspection, adjustment, and parts replacement will also extend the life of your treasured watercraft.
Perils of Recommissioning Your Boat Yourself
Some yacht and boat owners have developed a relationship with a favorite mechanic or yacht yard and choose the work be done by a professional.
On the other hand, boat owners who are do-it-yourselfers should know that the job must be thorough, and cutting steps and forestalling costs can come back to bite you. Fixing a mistake or oversight later is always more expensive than doing the job right in the first place.
If you plan to recommission your pride and joy yourself, knowing every aspect of the boat is an essential first step. Study the manuals from front to back to learn about all the boat’s systems and talk with a pro if you still have questions. Even the slightest oversight can lead to an expensive repair later.
Here are some necessary steps to ensure you and your boat will get off to a clean start this year. Never hesitate to replace any part that appears to be damaged or reaching the end of its useful life.
- Inspect the hull. Is a new coat of paint or foul release agent necessary to keep it in like-new condition?
- Check the prop to make sure it is secure and in good condition.
- Once in the water, inspect for water inside or leaks. If the boat has been kept in the water during the winter, and water has accumulated, identify and eliminate the source of those leaks.
- Inspect all hoses, clamps, and connections for excessive wear and whether these remain fully connected. Hose clamps tend to loosen over time due to continual expansion and contraction.
- Inspect the fuel-water separator and remove debris that may appear in the settling bowl.
- Check the engine. Change the fuel and oil filters, inspect hoses, and check oil and transmission fluids. Inspect all belts, wiring, and connections. Check with manufacturer for proper belt deflection specs.
- Always inspect the engine mounts for signs of corrosion.
- Check the stuffing box, any seacocks, and protective zincs (sacrificial anodes). Zincs should be replaced when they are about 20% gone.
- Examine the fuel tank and lines for damage or wear
- Inspect and clean battery terminals. Test the battery to make sure it will hold the charge.
- Check the security of ports and hatches.
- Make sure all emergency and safety equipment are in perfect condition. Check the life preservers, fire extinguishers, distress flares, and first aid equipment are available and in good shape. Replace any that appear to be worn and or not working correctly. Check expiration dates on fire extinguishers and flares replace as needed.
- Navigation systems and radio communications should be tested to ensure they will work properly.
- Make sure your boat registration is current.
Once visual inspections are complete and the boat is fully serviced, take a short test run with your craft along with an experienced associate. With another person steering, you can move about your boat conducting further inspections during operating conditions. Problems could become apparent that you could not anticipate when stationary.
Visit the Experts at Cape Yachts at South Wharf, S. Dartmouth MA
If you are in the market for a new or used yacht, fishing boat, or sport vessel, the professionals at Cape Yachts can match you with the right watercraft to meet your needs and budget.
For more information, contact Cape Yachts at +1-(509)-994-4444.