This is an exciting time of year – not only are the green shoots starting to nose their way out of the ground, but it’s almost launch time again!
To make sure all goes smoothly and your boat ends up safely afloat, don’t forget to check these essential items before getting her back into the water.
Check for wastage, and make sure to replace them if there is over a 50% reduction in size.
2. Skin Fittings
Check all your hoses are attached properly, and that the metal of the seacocks isn’t de-zincified or corroded in any way.
First of all, don’t forget to remove any rags stuffed into air inlets over the winter, or they could get sucked into the engine and ruin it.
Secondly, check engine belts for tightness, plus change the fuel and oil filters ready for the year ahead.
Finally, before putting your boat back in the water, check your stern gland and cutless bearing for movement and wear.
Check the date on any flexible hoses, and if it’s too old, replace it as a matter of serious urgency.
Additionally, check your regulator for corrosion and correct operation, and then press the ‘test’ button on your gas alarm to make sure it’s working correctly before your boat goes back in the water.
5. Mast and rigging
Check standing rigging for visible damage, and broken strands in particular. Then check your T terminals and fittings for cracks or damage.
Make sure that the bottle screws are undamaged and are well lubricated. Not only that, but ensure that all sheaves move – dry silicone lubricant will help them stay that way!
Also, double check the gooseneck and kicker for any excess movement.
Servicing your lifejackets regularly is essential, especially as they could save your life!
Even more important is your life raft. Make sure it’s in date – and take it to a service centre ASAP if not.
7. First aid kit
All items in your first aid kit should be in date, serviceable, and replaced if not.
Examine any stitching on jackstays and lifebuoys for UV damage too. It’s a bad idea to get your boat back in the water otherwise!
Finally, check the expiry dates on your fire extinguishers and flares.
Check the contacts on the boat’s batteries for corrosion and make sure there’s a good contact. If there is, check the voltage and charge too – there’s nothing worse than holding up the crane crew with a non-starting engine!
Once that’s done, look at all nav light bulbs and contacts for corrosion as well - clean as necessary.
With the boat in the water
As your precious boat finally hits the water again, it’s worth checking all skin fittings, transducers, stern glands, cockpit drains and bilges for leaks. The quicker you spot them, the less damage they can do!
Don’t forget, you may need to ‘burp’ some types of dripless shaft seals to expel the air as well.
Of course, before putting your boat back in the water, you should make sure your boat insurance is bought or up to date – it’s hugely important. If it isn’t, Insure4Boats can give you a tailored and instant quote – complete with our Lowest Price Guarantee!
What’s more, check your insurance completely covers the boating you’ll be doing this season. Once it’s up to date, happy boating!