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As the days get longer (hello Spring!), it’s time to start thinking about Spring Commissioning. This might be the ONE chore list we consider fun as we daydream about long days on the Chesapeake Bay. From fuel systems to safety gear inspections, which should happen annually whether you winterize your boat, the team at Atlantic Marinas is here to help you get your boat ready to launch.

We’ve broken it up into some quick & easy categories for our Atlantic Marinas members to have a successful Spring commissioning:

Our damp and windy winters here in Maryland may have caused some problems, so do an in-depth inspection of your windshield, seats, carpeting, rusted fittings. Also look for critter droppings and nests to ensure you don’t have extra guests on-board. Talk about an unfortunate discovery when you are a mile (or more) away from shore!

Hull Inspection:
While on dry land, inspect the topside for any loose rails and cleats; and inspect the hull thoroughly for cracks, chips, and dings. Examine how deep the dings are and repair before launching your boat. Atlantic Marinas offers boat detailing in case you discover any issues with your gelcoat and finish.

It may seem obvious that the engine can’t run if it can’t get fuel, but with the prevalence of ethanol-blended gasoline over the past few years; fuel lines, filters and components need to be inspected closer than ever before. Atlantic Marinas has two fueling stations (Magothy & Patapsco) and offers ethanol-free gas at both locations. Slip holders and High & Dry customers get 5% off at the Atlantic Marinas Magothy gas dock.

Electrical Systems:
Wiring and switches can become corroded over time, especially in brackish environments like the Chesapeake Bay, where half of the water comes from the Atlantic Ocean. Charge and check your battery terminals, cable ends, lights, gauges, and all accessories to ensure they are in good condition for the season ahead. Remember that any sign of corrosion can lead to overheating and potentially a fire.

There are so many components to the engine, whatever your power choice, we encourage careful inspection. Looseness and cracks are common in belts and hoses. Inspect the gear case for damage and change gear case lube (if it was not done in the fall). Connect your engine to a water source and allow it to run long enough to reach operating temperature to check for water leaks, blockages, and proper cooling. Our preferred service partner, Engle Marine has an office at our Patapsco and Ferry Point marinas to assist you in your engine servicing needs.

Essential to driving the boat, the steering and shift and throttle controls should be checked carefully for reliability, deterioration, and tightness. Remember, not inspecting and maintaining this crucial element could make you liable in an accident.

Ensure all safety items (life jackets, lines, anchors, flares) are in good condition. Check your license, registration, permits and insurance to make certain all are current. And lastly, if you haven’t already done so, snag an engine kill switch lanyard that we referenced in our last blog article. Under a Maryland law passed in April 2021 for vessels under 26’, it is now required that the vessel operator must use an engine cut-off switch lanyard while operating the boat at planing speed. These lanyards are designed to stop a boat’s engine if the operator is thrown from the helm.

Our ship stores in the Atlantic Marina Offices carry a variety of cleaning supplies to help you get your boat ready. Atlantic Marinas also has a full service team as well as some great partners that can solve any issues that may arise during your spring vessel inspections. We hope this article helped you plan your Spring Commissioning chore list. We can’t wait to see you successfully (and uneventfully) launch your boat for the 2022 season. Contact the Atlantic Marinas office with any questions at or 410-437-6926.


Article Resources:
Spring Commissioning Checklist from BoatUS

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