It's time to get the boat cleaned up and ready for the season. We have put together a few things to check before heading to the water.
First and foremost CHECK your safety gear!
Picture links to Kidde Recall
Inspect each of your fire extinguishers;
Remove from bracket
Check gage for proper pressure
Check for corrosion on extinguisher and bracket
Invert and feel for movement of extinguishing agent. If no movement is felt gently strike bottom with rubber mallet. It's important is does not become compressed
Check your Flotation Devices;
Each person must have a properly sized life jacket.
Dispose of worn or damaged flotation devices
Check Visual Distress and Sound gear
Check condition of distress signal flag
Check dates on flares and aerials
Check whistle and or bell
Check horn(When possible)
Check Anchor and Rode
Check rode for good attachment to anchor
Check rope or chain for chafing and wear
Check for proper storage
Check for wear and serviceability
Unless you're purely sailing the engine and final drive is the heart of your boat.
When gaining access to the engine(s) be cognizant of gasoline vapors. Vent them and check for signs of any fuel leaking over the winter
Take a look in the bilge for any leaks. Oily discharge from the bilge comes with a hefty fine. Find any issues now and address them
Check all ventilation equipment.
Test the blower(s) for running at speed and moving sufficient air
Are the vent hoses in good serviceable condition
Are the fresh air cowls free of debris
Check fluid levels and condition
Is there enough of the manufacturer recommended oil on the engine
Is the engine coolant up to the the top of the heat exchanger
Has the raw water system been inspected. Is the impeller in good condition. Are the hoses free of bulges, splits and cracks
Check condition of belts and tension
Is the outdrive or lower unit full. Is there water in the oil
Is the transmission fluid discolored or foul smelling.(Fluid level is checked warm, ensure some is in there before starting engine)
Are the fully charged and topped off with distilled water
Are they properly secured
Are the terminals properly covered
Those that have the advantage of running the boat before launching should take advantage of this. Now is a great time to test starting, cooling, and charging. Plus you can get some fresh fuel worked into the distribution system.
One of the most convenient way to get cooling water to your engine is a hose. Below are two ways of feeding the water into the intake
This type of motor flusher work on outdrives and outboards. They are brand specific.
This type is for thru hull type water intakes commonly found on inboard boats.
Have fire extinguisher at hand
Vent gasoline vapors for 5 minutes. Attach and start cooling water or if you are launched. Start engine
Look for any fuel leaks STOP ENGINE IMMEDIATELY IF FOUND!
Look for oil leaks
Does the engine sound normal
Is cooling water flowing out of the discharge
Are the the gauges reading correctly
Let the engine run up to normal operating temperature. DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED
Once up to temperature
Check again for any leaks
Check transmission fluid if applicable
Check and note operating temperature
Shut down engine via the Boat Kill Switch to test function. Let cool
Check level condition of engine oil. Look for signs of water in oil
Check level and condition of outdrive oil. Look for signs of water in oil
Look at the electrical system
Check to ensure ALL battery connections are clean and tight. Including the isolation switch
Check for corrosion on fuse blocks, busses, and switches
Look for any signs of heat. If found have it looked at by a professional
Check all lights and test horn
Power up radio. Test when possible. Click picture below for USCG VHF Marine Radio Check
Click picture above for USCG VHF Marine Radio Check
Check your trailer
Is the tongue adjusted properly
Is the vehicle electrical connection corrosion free and clean
Is the wiring in good condition
Is the front mast and winch in serviceable condition
Are the tires in good condition
Check air pressure
Are the lug nuts torqued to specification
Are the bearings sufficiently lubricated and caps on tight
Check all lights before first trip
These are just a few things to check to help ensure an enjoyable day on the water.
Be safe out there and wear your life jacket