It’s March. Early spring. Mud season (at least around here). Time for March Madness, getting your garden ready, digging the golf clubs out of winter storage and, of course, getting your boat ready for the upcoming season.
Baseball holds spring training this time of year. Where players and teams get together after the winter hiatus, get back in the swing of things and got ready to play ball again. Which, thankfully, they will one day soon!
But for us boaters, this month (and probably the early part of April, too) is prime time for getting your boat ready for a new season on the water. Here are some things to think about as the days get longer and the temperature, slowly, begins to climb.
Clean and De-winterize
If your boat has been out of the water, either stored and tarped on your trailer or kept inside on a shelf in a marina’s warehouse, this is the time to shake off the dust. Give your boat a good top-to-bottom cleaning, including decks, railings and brightwork, upholstery, and sides and hull. Putting a shiny clean boat into the water makes you feel good!
If you winterized your systems last fall, checking the hoses, injecting anti-freeze here and there, you’ll need to do a complete de-winterization. Our service center here at McShane’s offers a springtime service, and it is probably more cost effective to let us handle your de-winterization. It will certainly save you a lot of effort!
Now’s the time to check your hull and underside and determine if you need a fresh coat of paint, especially anti-fouling paint. Check for scrapes and scratches which may need to be repaired before they lead to more serious hull damage.
While you’re down under, check the rudder and its fittings, the props and shaft, drainage openings and any other mechanical part that goes into the water.
While the boat is out of the water, check your safety equipment. Are your PFDs and life rings in good working order? Do you have a ready supply of flares and are they in working order? Check the railings and side cables to look for rust and/or kinking. And the anchor lines. Better to spend a few minutes checking things now, instead of finding out, when you try to use a piece of gear, that it doesn’t work.
Anchor and Pumps
After checking the anchor and chain for rust and corrosion, test out the windlass and its motor. Ditto for the bilge pumps and lines; water lines, gas lines and any other hoses that are necessary to the boat’s operation. It’s easier to replace an old hose in drydock than it is when the boat is bobbing on an active sea.
Check your main batteries to make sure they are charged and can hold that charge. If it’s time to replace, do it now. You probably can’t check every inch of wiring on your boat, but you can examine the connection points to make sure they are clean, not corroded and work properly. And plug in your electronic controls and helm screens and make sure they’re working. Now’s the best time to download and install any system upgrades.
Some of these spring training check-ups will take just a few minutes. Others may require an entire Saturday afternoon. But the result will be a clean, well-maintained boat that will provide you and your family with hours of sunny pleasure in the months ahead.
McShane’s Full Service Department is here to help, contact us today!