Spring is around the corner, which means it’s almost time for boating season! Making sure that your vessel is ready for the season is a necessary part of the boating process. Below are some helpful tips to making sure your boat is ready to go!
The first thing to consider when preparing your boat for the season is having your safety gear inspected. While you’re at it, check your emergency supplies. Flares, for example, should be replaced about every 4 years. Fire extinguishers should be replaced every 10 years. You should also test your smoke, carbon monoxide, and bilge alarms to make sure that they are operational. Refill any first aid items you may have used in the previous season and throw out any expired materials. Life jackets need to be appropriately fitted for everyone who goes out on your boat, including young children. Please make sure you have the correct sizes on board prior to launching your boat. You also need to make sure your PDF’s are usable and accessible. Although it is not necessary, it is always a good idea to have extra food, such as granola bars or dried fruit, and bottled water on board in case of emergencies or a long ride back to the boat yard.
The next thing to think about before launching your boat is to make sure your boat’s batteries are charged or replace them if needed. Check all lighting fixtures, including navigation lights, and have spare bulbs and fuses in case you need them. Inspect your dock and anchor lines as well to make sure they are not chafing. Replace any old charts and waterway guides — you’ll want to have accurate maps if a situation arises.
Having the proper documentation on your boat is also very important. Boat registration needs to be up to date, along with your boat insurance policy. Keep a copy on your boat for when you may need them. Towing insurance is also very helpful to have in case of breakdowns. You can purchase towing insurance from local providers such as BoatUS.com. Lastly, don’t forget to be sure that your drain plug is installed!
Boaters are always in a rush to get out on the water at the first sign of spring, but taking the time to ensure that your boat and equipment are in safe working order is the single most important thing you can do to make sure that you have a successful boating season!