After one of the coldest, snowiest winters in recent memory, New England boaters are itching to get out on the water. With warm weather creeping in and winter loosening its grip, you can almost feel the spray and the summer sun as you speed out to Vineyard Sound or cruise to Chatham. But you don’t have to wait for every snow bank to melt before you prepare for the boating season. Begin your spring commissioning now so your boat is ready to hit the water as soon as the boating days are upon us.
First, now is the time to give your boat’s exterior some TLC, as you won’t want to do it once it’s in the water. Check for any blisters or cracks and do any repainting or repairs as needed. Wash your hull and give it a fresh coat of wax. Also, inspect your propeller for any dents or dings, which can sap your fuel efficiency.
Few things will crush the excitement of an early season boating day faster than a dead battery. Make sure yours is charged and its connections are clean. Once charged, top off your battery with distilled water.
Your boat’s engine compartment can be a cozy place for mice to hang out and chew wiring during the long winter. Make sure your wiring and electrical connections are in good shape. Top off your fluids, check your oil and see if you need to change your spark plugs and fuel filters. Also, inspect your hoses and clamps and replace them if necessary.
Make sure to inspect your dock and anchor lines for chafing, and make sure your bilge pump is properly working. Spring is also a good time to check your expiration dates on your flares and fire extinguishers.
Finally, if you trailer your boat, making sure your trailer is ready for the season is as important as your boat being ready. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good shape. Check your tread and your sidewalls for cracks. Inspect your lights and brakes, and grease your wheel bearings. Also check your trailer frame for rust, and do any sanding and painting if needed.