It's almost here, the first big holiday boating weekend and you can't wait can get your boat back out on the water. Before you do, it’s important that you prepare your boat and anyone who’ll be on it so that you can have a fun and safe time on the water.
Before you even think about hitting the water here are some helpful hints and tips:
1. De-winterize your boat’s engine. Change the oil, oil filter, and change the oil in the transmission or the outboard’s lower unit. Flush the cooling system, replacing antifreeze with a water/coolant combination and also install new batteries before putting the engine through its paces.
2. Give the hull a good once-over. Check for cracks, blisters, and chips. Repaire anything that looks questionable.
3. Clean the boat’s exterior. Use water safe cleaning products from a marine supply store. Restore the boat’s gelcoat,which will help prevent oxidation, and repeat as necessary over the summer.
4. The comfort level is ready. Check your covers, seats, and any other canvas and vinyl to make sure they aren’t ripped. Also, test all the electronics, particularly the radio, depth finder, compass and GPS.
5. Safety first. When it comes to life jackets don’t scrimp. Buy good quality, brightly colored jackets with sturdy waist and crotch straps and a handle on the collar. Also, make sure your fire extinguishers and flares are in working and not expired.
Remember that not everyone you take out on the water may be an experienced boater. Give passengers a rundown of boating basics and safety precautions.
Always make sure someone on land knows where you’re going and when you will be back and always be aware of the weather by making sure that everybody has proper clothing and shoes for rain or rough waters.
Have fun! From readying the boat to prepping your passengers, to have the best experience possible, follow these simple suggestions and guidelines. And then sit back and enjoy!