I still have snow in the yard but the calendar says “Spring” and in the yard, there are shoots from flowers pushing skyward so I know it is time to go over my “Get the Boat Ready” list.
1. Is the boat registration up to date? Some state agencies require a yearly renewal, while others all renew on a certain date. Best bet is to check your state’s boat registration dates and requirements.
2. Do you have all the safety equipment and is it in good condition? How old is that fire extinguisher? Best to have one that is new or only a year old. Has a mouse chewed the straps on the life jacket? Have your kids grown since the last time they wore life jackets? It’s especially important to make sure little ones fit their life jackets.
3. Can you locate the plug?
4. Check all the mechanics below deck, for example look for cracked belts or fuel hoses. If anything is old or broken, replace.
5. How are the electrical systems working? Make sure to turn everything on to test operability. Any corrosion around batter terminals? If so, remove and clean with a wire brush.
6. Will the engine run? A universal motor flush tool which connects to a garden hose is a handy. This lets me know if the outboard motor won’t start in the yard, rather than at the ramp.
7. Do the towropes and anchor ropes still have their integrity or are they getting brittle from exposure to sunlight?
8. Are the trailer tires still holding air or too worn? How about the spare? You do have a spare, right?
9. How about those trailer lights? Rodents love to nibble on those things too.
10. Inspect the hull. Any scratches or gouges to buff out? Ladder work? Any need for a paint touch up?
It isn’t worth finding out the hard way. Best to do it now, so that you can concentrate on remembering where you left the truck keys. For a full spring cleaning list, check out the Boat Maintenance section
Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Pennsylvania. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com