Father and daughter getting their boat ready for spring.

Essential spring boat maintenance

Consider completing these tasks before hitting the water.

Before you take your boat out at the first sign of spring, it's important to conduct proper boat maintenance to help keep your boat performing at its best. It's ideal to catch any mechanical faults before you're on the water. Here are some maintenance ideas to help you get started.

Boat motor maintenance and other tips

  • Charge the battery. After sitting idle all winter, the battery may be low — or even dead. Plug in the battery overnight to charge it or purchase a new one if necessary. You might also consider having a professional boat mechanic inspect the battery.
  • Top off fuel and other fluids. You don't want to be stranded in the middle of the water due to running out of gas. Also check the engine oil, power steering, power trim reservoirs and coolant level. Change your engine oil and filters if needed.
  • Inspect the engine. Check that all parts are in good condition.
    • Look for loose hose clamps.
    • Replace the spark plugs.
    • Inspect belts, cables and hoses to make sure they aren't cracked or brittle.
    • Check the condition of the impeller. Impellers typically need to be replaced every two to three years or after 300 hours of use.
    • Confirm the propeller is in good shape (without cracks, dents, warping or bent blades).
  • Check the brake lights. If you're hauling your boat on a trailer, see that the brake and signal lights are working.
  • Inspect the electrical system. See that your electrical connections are clean, tight and free of corrosion. Clean any corroded terminals with a wire brush.

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Clean the interior and exterior of your boat

  • Use a mild detergent to wipe down the exterior of the boat.
  • Add a coat of wax to the exterior to help protect the boat's surface against debris and grime.
  • Clean the seats with a vinyl cleaner to help protect against harmful UV rays.
  • Use an all-purpose spray cleaner to clean the boat's console area.
  • Clean the carpets with a power washer to remove any dirt and grime from the fibers.
  • Wipe down all the windows.

Don't forget the boat safety essentials

Help keep everyone safer on the water by inspecting your safety gear.

  • Inspect your life jackets. Make sure you have enough on board and that they are all in good condition, easily accessible and sized appropriately for passengers.
  • Check your safety kit. Store safety items, such as a first-aid kit, flares, fire extinguisher and flashlights, in a waterproof container.
  • Inspect your fire extinguishers. Check that they are fully charged and in the correct locations.
  • Have a pro look at your boat. If possible, take advantage of a U.S. Coast Guard safety check.
  • Check carbon monoxide detectors. If your boat has enclosed or semi-enclosed areas, confirm the carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
  • Review your insurance. Consider taking a look at your boat insurance policy to understand what is covered. And if you have made any recent improvements to your vessel, like getting a new engine or upgrading your trailer, reach out to your State Farm® agent for you to confirm that you have the right coverage for your boat.

Get your boat documents in order

Review your documents to see that you have up-to-date:

  • Boat registration
  • Boat insurance
  • Trailer tags
  • Fishing license (if you plan on fishing)

Now that you've learned about preparing your boat for the water, you may be interested in safety tips for canoeing and kayaking or using jet skis.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
State Farm General Insurance Company
Bloomington, IL

State Farm Florida Insurance Company
Winter Haven, FL

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