With summer and boating season here, families across the country are enjoying having their boats out on the water! A boat is a major investment and can provide an ample number of fun weekends spent out on the water. However, without the proper upkeep this investment can turn into an expensive playground for the local fish. Before you take the plunge, make sure to check a few key points to ensure your boating season is all fun in the sun.
- Visual Inspection
In driver’s education courses we are taught to do a walk around of the vehicle before driving, and while few people actually do this, it does provide the best indication of what’s happening around the vehicle. The same applies for a boat. Before dropping it in the water you should do a full visual inspection. Thoroughly clean the hull and check for any imperfections, blemishes or signs of damage.
- Engine and Propeller
Engine fluids and filters should be replaced annually or after 100 hours of use, just like a car requires regular oil changes. While you’re at it you can inspect the propeller, look for any knicks, small cracks or indications of impact damage. Even a small chip can result in loss of power and excessive fuel consumption. You should also remove the propeller to check for tangled fishing line or debris. If anything seems off, you should check with a local maintenance shop.
- Electrical Systems
Do a visual inspection to check for any signs of corrosion, and replace or clean batteries and wiring where necessary. Check that all lights are functional both inside and around the boat. It might be a good time to switch over to lower powered LED lights, especially if some lights are already burnt out.
While not technically a maintenance concern, verifying that the correct supplies are on board can be a lifesaver throughout the season. Make sure that life jackets, first-aid and an emergency kit are on board and fully stocked. Flares, flashlights and fire extinguishers should be checked for both expiry dates and functionality.
Once you have checked your vessel from bow to stern and you’ve deemed it to be seaworthy, it is time to consider insurance. While boating insurance may not be mandatory it is certainly a wise choice to make. Consider looking into your insurance options, as some can be added to an existing home or vehicle policy. The best insurance will cover loss and liability. Accidents can happen and it is best to be prepared for anything!
Now that you’ve covered all the bases it is time to get out there and enjoy some safe fun on the local waterways!