How to Prepare Your Boat for the Upcoming Outdoor Season

How to Prepare Your Boat for the Upcoming Outdoor Season

A slight change in the weather is often the first signal that it is time to prepare your boat for the outdoor season. This process is not only going to improve the safety of your boat and its passengers, but it will also increase its longevity and limit the risk of serious breakdowns in the coming months. Here is a look at some of the steps that you can take to get your boat ready for the water.

Cleaning

Anyone that has not taken off their boat's cover and allowed the vessel to air out a few times over the winter will most likely have some problems with mold and mildew. A solution with a small percentage of bleach will clean away most mildew without stripping paint or damaging the hull. This is also a good time to go through and wipe down seats and glass in order to make the visual inspection easier. Anyone that is cleaning the boat should keep a pen and paper on them and mark down any damage that they may notice or missing parts that must be replaced. Cleaning the outer hull of any blemishes, mold, or other impurities will also promote fuel-efficiency.

The Visual Inspection

The visual inspection is one of the single most important parts of preparing the boat. It is always best to carry out this step out of the water, but this is not always possible for owners. If the boat cannot be pulled out of the water at least once or twice a year, then owners should ensure that the boat is pulled out and inspected every other year or a company is hired to inspect the hull while in the water. This is a step in which it will pay to be as thorough and exhaustive as possible. Catching major damage at this time will prevent serious issues when out on the water. Fiberglass boats that are out of the water should also be waxed before the upcoming season.

The Electrical System

After the hull has been cleaned and inspected, it is then time to take a look at the battery and electrical system. The best option for the batteries during the off-season is to disconnect or remove them completely. If that is not possible, then you will want to leave them on a trickle-charger. Leaving boat batteries uncharged for any period of time can damage them. When the battery is fully charged, attach it once again and check all connections and switches. Any battery that cannot maintain a charge should be immediately replaced. When the battery can hold a charge and there is still no power, then the issue is most likely a deteriorated connection that must be found and changed.

At this point, owners will most likely want to have a boat mechanic change the oil and start up the engine or carry out the oil and filter change themselves. This is also the perfect time to go through the safety checklist for gear such as GPS devices, fire extinguishers, and flotation devices.