Get your boat ready for the water
After a long winter, you’ll want to get your boat ready for summer. Failure to do so can result in costly repairs and prevent you from enjoying your favorite watersports this season.
Here are a few things you should do to get your boat ready for the water. These tips can save you a lot of trouble and money in the long run!
Check the Hull
Hulls made of wood, aluminium and steel need to be regularly checked for cracks, splits and rot in the timbers and any caulking that may need to be replaced. Checking the hull also involves checking any equipment that is used on the boat.
For example, check the propeller and ensure it is tightened up and in good condition. Having a good propeller is essential as it helps to improve the performance of your engine.
Before you take your boat out for the summer it is important to carry out a detailed and close up visual inspection. This will help to identify any areas that are requiring more in depth inspections.
This is an essential part of getting your boat ready to go for the summer and can make a real difference in its performance on the water. It can also help you to spot a potential problem before it gets too serious and expensive!
A hull is susceptible to damage from a number of things such as impact, osmosis and corrosion. Different hull materials have their own weaknesses and strengths.
Whether you are purchasing a new or second hand boat you should have the hull inspected by a professional. This will give you a better idea of the condition of the hull and what is needed to be done in order to make it last longer.
The most common type of hull damage is corrosion and electrolytic pitting of the plating in aluminium and steel boats. Fortunately, this can be prevented by a regular maintenance schedule.
Another important part of a hull maintenance schedule is to ensure that the metal hull plates are in good condition. Any deterioration or cracking is likely to compromise the hull and lead to increased maintenance costs down the road.
Finally, inspect the through-hulls for any leaks or damage that may have occurred over the winter. These fittings are much closer to the hull than freeboard would indicate and can become cracked and vulnerable if they are exposed to rainwater, snow or other debris during a storm.
Double-clamping the thru-hulls is essential and consider adding an anti-siphon loop or check valve to any that are within 8" to 12" of the waterline. Inspect the hoses to these fittings as well and ensure that they are double-clamped with stainless steel clamps.
Check the Battery
The battery is the heart of your boat, so it’s important to check it periodically. It will help you ensure that it is charged and ready to work when the time comes to put your boat away for the winter.
A common way to check the battery is to use a multimeter to measure its voltage. To do this, hook up the multimeter to the positive and negative battery terminals and read its voltage.
If the voltage is lower than 12.6 volts when you crank the engine, it’s likely that your battery needs to be replaced. However, this is not always the case. If your battery has a lot of rust or corrosion on it, the voltage may be lower than what you should expect from it.
Another option is to use a hydrometer to test the electrolyte levels inside the battery. This is the most reliable method for determining how well the battery is performing, since the specific gravity of the electrolyte can tell you whether the cell is working or not.
To perform this type of test, simply place the battery under a load that is one-half the CCA rating. You can use a hand-held test battery or an electronic load tester that has a built-in load sensor.
Before you begin, be sure that your hands are safe and clean, and don’t use any chemicals or substances that will cause harm to the battery. Gloves made of neoprene or latex are best, and rags should also be disposable.
Next, remove the top port covers, which are semi-rectangular plastic caps that seal each cell. They can be removed by gently prying them with a plastic putty knife or screwdriver.
Once the port covers are removed, wipe away any dirt or debris. Be sure to close the ports before placing them back onto the battery.
The battery should be inspected weekly for a month to make sure that the electrolyte levels are still within their normal ranges. If the electrolyte levels are overfilled, this could indicate that a small leak has occurred or that the battery is in need of a complete replacement.
Change the Oil
Changing the oil on your boat is one of those essential maintenance tasks that just shouldn't be skipped. Leaving used oil to accumulate in your engine's crankcase and gearcase can slowly damage vital engine components. This is why we recommend changing your boat's oil as soon as possible after winter storage to ensure the longevity of your outboard motor.
When changing your boat's oil, you should follow your owner's manual as to how much oil to use and when to change it. Ideally, you should change your boat's oil every 3,000 hours of operation or so. You can check the recommended intervals for your engine's make and model in your owner's manual or on the manufacturer's website.
To begin the process, remove the oil filler cap and check the level of the oil in your engine's crankcase and gearcase. This will let you know if the oil is completely drained, or if it needs to be replaced.
Next, locate the oil filter on your engine and loosen it with a filter wrench. The best type of wrench is a type that fits over the flats on the bottom of the filter and makes it easy to pull off by hand.
Once the filter is off, carefully place it in a zip lock bag. This will keep the filter from getting damaged while you are removing it and will prevent a mess later on when you need to put it back on.
If you don't want to change the oil yourself, your best option is to take your boat to your local marine dealer and ask them to do it for you. They are highly trained in the care and service of your boat and will use the proper oils for your specific vessel.
Performing an oil change on your boat is an excellent way to ensure that your engine is properly protected in the cold, and will also save you time and money by not needing to call for repairs in the future. The process is simple and doesn't take long, so you can spend more time on the water enjoying your boat!
Clean the Interior
As soon as you have your boat ready Summerize, make sure to take the time to clean the interior of the vessel. This will help keep your boat looking nice and will remove dirt, mold, mildew and stains from marine carpet as well as foul odors from the bilge area of your vessel.
There are many different types of boat interior cleaning products available on the market. You will want to choose a product that is safe for you and the environment. You will also want to look for a cleaner that is formulated with biodegradable materials.
A good boat interior cleaner should be able to remove stains and grime from the interior of your vessel, including the fiberglass, vinyl and other surfaces. You can find these products in your local hardware store or online.
Using a high-quality marine-safe, eco-friendly and biodegradable boat cleaning solution will make your boat look like new again. Choosing a quality cleaning product is important as it will help you maintain your boat for longer.
You can use a soapy water mix and a sponge to scrub the inside of your boat. Typically, you will want to work in sections to ensure that the entire interior of your boat is clean and free of dirt.
When you are finished cleaning the interior of your boat, rinse it thoroughly. Once you have done this, you can use a towel to dry the interior. This will help remove the last bit of dirt from your boat and it will make the exterior of your boat look better as well.
In addition to cleaning your boat, you should also inspect the interior of your boat for rust and corrosion. Keeping your boat in good condition is crucial to maintaining its value and ensuring that it will remain in great condition for years to come.
If you have not cleaned the interior of your boat before, you should consider hiring a professional to do it for you. This will save you a lot of time and effort and will make your boat look like new again.