If you’re a boat owner, there are a few things you need to do to get ready for summer fun on the water. Be sure to check these items off your list before you take your boat out after being in storage.
Store Your Boat Properly
Boat storage is important whether it’s the off-season or not. During the summer, you can leave your boat in the marina and simply do your regular checks before each outing.
However, during the colder months or any time your boat will be going unused for a significant amount of time, you should get it out of the water and into storage. Dry boat storage facilities, like Inland Boat and Storage, help protect your boat from damage and decay. This makes it easier and faster to prepare to put in the water when summer comes again.
Check Your Battery
It’s best to remove the battery while your boat is still in storage for the winter. Make sure it’s fully charged before taking your boat out. When you take the battery out, check to make sure that the terminals aren’t corroded. If there’s some corrosion, you can use a wire brush to remove it.
The lifespan of a lead-acid battery is about three to five years. If yours is older than that, it may need to be replaced. Check the charge with a multimeter to be sure the charged battery is producing the correct voltage.
Check Your Oil
Before you take the boat out, you need to make sure the oil level is correct. While doing that, you should also check the color of the oil. It should be an amber color. If the oil is black, it needs to be changed. Boat engine oil should be changed every 100 hours or every 50 hours if you have a diesel engine.
Check Your Propeller
Next, inspect your propeller. A damaged propeller will increase your fuel consumption and can make the boat harder to handle. If you find any damage, it will need to be repaired or replaced. Proper boat storage can help prevent damage when it’s out of the water.
Check Your PFDs
Check to see if you need to replace any life jackets or other personal floatation devices. Also, be sure you have the correct number for your boat for the number of people you expect to take out regularly.
While you’re checking the safety equipment, make sure your lights and horn work properly too. These can be lifesaving, especially if your boat breaks down at night.
Clean and Wax The Hull
A dirty hull can seriously impact your fuel economy. Clean the hull and, for fiberglass hulls, use a wax that protects the gel coat.
The hull should be washed after every outing. This is even more critical if you sail in salt water. When you’re washing the boat, be sure to use a wash designed for boats with a gentle scrub.
If it’s not properly cleaned and waxed, your fiberglass hull’s gel coat will turn chalky. It should be waxed twice a year, once in the spring when you take it out of boat storage and again before winter when it’s ready to go back into storage.
Getting your boat ready for summer isn’t difficult. There are just a few critical checks to make to be sure you have problem-free and safe fun on the water. Your boat isn’t the only thing that needs regular maintenance though. The boat trailer requires just as much attention in maintenance as the boat itself. A poorly maintained trailer will pose a danger not only to your boat but to you and other road users as well. Here are some tips to keep your trailer in prime shape.
Oil the Trailer Wheel
The trailer wheel can struggle to rotate after some time due to the mileage it racks up. As a result, you need to regularly inspect it to see if it needs a round of oiling to lubricate it. Use marine grease to reduce friction and improve its utility. Do not forget to apply it to the wheel assembly too. You can also use silicone spray on both the wheel and its assembly mechanism.
Inspect the Lights
Trailer lights are critical to road safety as you tow your boat, and just like typical vehicle lights, you can get pulled over for a citation if they aren’t working. Periodically check up on your trailer boat’s lights for any dead bulbs that need replacing. When you identify one that doesn’t work, first check your car’s lights to ensure they are functioning. Trailer lights won’t work if the car lights are faulty.
Coat the Cross Members
Once you spray bed liner or flex-type coating for a non-slip finish, you can add an extra layer of enamel for protection while also preserving the trailer’s color. Check to see that the flex-type coating is completely dry before spraying it with the enamel coating.
Get a Professional Assessment
While you can do a lot of the repair work necessary to keep your boat trailer in top shape, you need professional repair services when facing extensive damage. A professional assessment in trailer repairs helps you identify the issues that aren’t easy to note like corrosion or cracking of the suspension. A regular checkup by a professional will also help you maintain the other essential moving parts of the boat trailer like the split pins and spindles. Generally, this is only required if you are buying a used trailer, haven’t used yours in a while, or already suspect an issue with your trailer.
Be Mindful of the Weight Load
Traveling long distances with the boat trailer carrying excess weight will wear down certain parts. Inspect your boat trailer every time you load it to see if the axles are straight. Piling on more weight than is recommended by the manufacturer will lead to warping on your boat trailer plus unusual wear and tear on other parts.
Your boat requires a working trailer to get it from the storage area to the water. Service your trailer as frequently as you service the boat to keep them both in tip-top condition.