How to Get Your Boat Ready for Summer
As a boat owner, when the weather starts to get warm in the spring, you get excited. Pretty soon you’ll be spending your weekends on the water, but before you can do that, you have to get your boat ready for the season. In the fall, you winterized your boat and put it up for the winter. You changed the oil, flushed the cooling system and filled it with antifreeze, prepped the fresh water and sewage systems, and if you have an outboard or sterndrive, you greased the moving components in the lower unit. Your boat has been sitting all winter, and before you get it out on the water, there are a few boxes you need to check. Read on to learn about spring/summer boat preparation.
Visually inspect your boat
When your boat first comes out of storage, performing a visual inspection is a good idea. If the boat was stored outside, check the exterior for damage caused by weather and other debris. If you live in an area that sees heavy snowfall, make sure your boat has no structural damage from the weight of snow piling up on it.
For boats stored both indoors and outdoors, it’s a good idea to check the interior for signs of mice. Take a look at all visible wires. If you notice any damage or chewed wires, mice probably moved in during the cold months.
Check and charge batteries
Whether you took the batteries out of your boat or left them in for storage, it’s important to make sure they are charged and working properly. You wouldn’t want to end up stranded on your first trip out of the season. Make sure the terminals are not damaged and the plastic casing isn’t cracked.
Check the engine and drive
When you winterized your boat, you most likely performed an oil change. Before you take your boat out for the first time, check your engine oil levels, and if you did not change your oil in the fall, be sure to perform one.
If you have a sterndrive boat or outboard motor, check the gear lube levels in the drive to ensure proper lubrication during operation.
Prepare the water system
If your boat has a freshwater tank that supplies a shower, sink, or toilet, it’s important to flush out the antifreeze that was added when you put it up for winter.
- Start by flushing the antifreeze from the holding tank by running fresh water through the system.
- Make a bleach solution and run it through the freshwater system so it’s safe to drink from.
Start the engine
Making sure your boat is in good working order mechanically before the summer season is a smart idea. Whenever you start your boat out of the water, make sure you are using engine muffs or another form of water supply to keep your boat engine from overheating. Check all gauges and make sure they are working while the engine is running.
Check your trailer
Even if you dock your boat on the water during the summer, you’ll still need to trailer it at the beginning and end of the season. Make sure you inspect your boat trailer before towing. Make sure the trailer tires are in good condition, the brakes work, and brake lights/turn signals are functioning as they should.
Other boat summarizing tips
The steps above are essential when getting your boat ready for summer, but there are a lot of optional preparations you can do to protect your boat and make your life easier.
Interior and exterior detailing
The inside of your boat likely collected debris while sitting all winter. Giving the inside a thorough wash will make it a much nicer place to spend time.
Washing and waxing the exterior of your boat every spring will help protect it from the elements, whether you trailer it to the lake every time or dock it for the summer.
Equipment and supplies
Make sure your boat has the essentials on board. It’s a good idea to bring:
- Ropes and bumpers
- Life vests
- Fire extinguisher
- Tool kit
- Drinking water
- Nonperishable food
Make sure you have all registration and insurance documentation on board as well.
Let Matson Auto and Marine help with your boat!
If you’re unsure about any step in the boat summarizing process, call or schedule an appointment at Matson Auto and Marine! Our marine technicians serve Utah boat owners at our Riverton repair shop. We have the expertise needed to get your boat prepped and ready for a summer on the water!