The busy recreational boating season is almost upon us once again, as is the beautiful, warm weather that people wait for all year long. As this is often the first time of the year when people have a significant amount of time off, there are those out there who may not have used their boats yet up to this point. If you want to get your boat in ship-shape for summer (pun absolutely intended), there are a few key things you’ll need to keep in mind.
Boat Prep Tips, Tricks and Best Practices
- Before you take your boat out on the water for the first time, always make sure that your safety gear is on board and within reach. This means that you need to check the service schedule to make sure you’re up-to-date and you should also check items like inflatable jackets to make sure they’re all in good working order.
- If you do need servicing on a critical piece of equipment like your engine, make an appointment with a local marine mechanic sooner rather than later. When the boating season actually starts, there will be many people in situations just like yours – meaning the normal wait period for maintenance can quickly balloon to weeks or more.
- Speaking of your engine, always make an effort to de-winterise it before you get your boat out there on the open water. Water, acids and other byproducts can and will build up in the off-season. This can lead to everything from a loss of power to poor fuel economy to even a complete engine failure if you’re not careful.
- While you’re doing that, flush your cooling system. Replace the antifreeze that you put in for the colder winter months with a 50/50 ratio of water to coolant for the best results.
- Check all other critical components of your boat and replace things like the gearbox oil, the engine oil, spark plugs, the fuel filter and more.
- Don’t forget to check your trailer, as well. If your trailer suffers a major issue while traveling with your boat, it could cause a very serious accident. Go over things like wheel bearings, lights, the hitch and more and make sure that nothing needs to be adjusted or replaced before you get going.
- Also be sure to not only check your top but also your seats, your seat covers and any other vinyl or canvas items. Be on the lookout for tears, dirt, mildew and other issues. Identifying these problems now gives you the opportunity to clean or repair them before you have an embarrassing situation on your hands the next time guests want to head out for a nice day on the high seas. You’ll be glad you did.
Whether you’re interested in obtaining or renewing your boat licence, or if you’re in the market for any of the wide range of comprehensive maritime training courses that we offer, please don’t delay – contact Maritime and Safety Training today for more information.