Before you hit the water at the first sign of spring, it's essential to conduct proper boat maintenance to keep your boat performing at its best. You'll want to catch any mechanical faults before you're on the water.
Set aside a day before launch to complete these boat maintenance steps or have them checked by a professional.
Prepare to get your engine running on your boat
- Charge the battery. After sitting idle all winter, the battery may be low — or even dead. Plug it in overnight to charge it, or purchase a new battery if necessary. Check the acid levels in the battery and top them off with distilled water.
- Top off the fuel tank. You don't want to be stranded in the middle of the water.
- Inspect the engine. Make sure 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 impeller to make sure it's not too worn. Impellers typically need to be replaced every two years or after 200 hours of use.
- Check the brake lights. If you're hauling your boat on a trailer, make sure the brake and signal lights are working.
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 in order to 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 the dirt and grime from the fibers.
- Wipe down all the windows.
Don’t forget the boat safety essentials
Keep everyone safe 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.
- Review your insurance. Make sure you understand what’s covered in your boat insurance policy and that your boat insurance policy is up to date.