Q&A – Winter 2021

By Eric Smith | Shining Waters Marine

Spring Pre-Checklist to start the season off right.

Hopefully everyone survived your long cold winters and are looking forward to another boating season. Here are some tips to get your boating started early so that you can have a fun summer.

  1. Batteries: These are the heart of your boat — they start your engine and run your lights and to do that they need to be in good condition. Check the voltage, if they were left in the boat and you have disconnected the negative and should have stayed charged. If they were stored off the boat they should be checked and charged up. You could perform a load test with them fully charged. This will give you a quick snapshot of the condition of your batteries.
  2. Fuel System: Depending on how you choose to store your fuel in the fall (empty the tank, full tank or added stabilizer) you should check for leaks, cracked hoses and the state of your filters. We have seen a fuel filter crack over the winter because water was not drained. If you can polish your fuel, that would help remove any contaminants from the system — most boatyards are equipped to do this.
  3. Below the Waterline: Before your boat is launched, check the condition of the underside of your boat — propeller, keel (for sailboats), struts, shafts, cutlass bearings, rudder bearings, anodes and condition of your antifouling pain or gelcoat. Take some time here and really look closely because this is the stuff you can’t check easily when your boat is in the water.
  4. Above the Waterline: For all those sailors who took your mast down in the fall, inspect for fraying halyards, broken standing rigging and make your electrical work.
  5. Plumbing: During the tough winter conditions, plastic and metal thru-hulls such as cockpit drains, sink drains or toilet fittings could accumulate water in them and freeze. If it’s a hairline crack it won’t show until after launch, but you should do a visual of the fittings and hoses. Then double check when the boat hits the water.
  6. Start Your Engine: Nothing is more frustrating than just being launched and your engine won’t run. Starting your engine on land properly, regardless if you have an inboard diesel or outboard, and going through the effort will save a huge headache and additional hauling expense if it can not be repaired in the water.

Hopefully the 2021 boating season will be a highlight for you and your family. Take some time to make sure your boat is all set before the season and start off on the right foot.

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