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Spring Maintenance Boat Checklist

Spring is officially here and that means one thing: It’s time to start planning your boating season. Whether you fully cleaned, repaired, and prepared your boat for a few months of storage last fall or just safely tucked it away, you’ll need to de-winterize it now and thoroughly go through your spring maintenance checklist.

Spring Maintenance Boat Checklist

Spring Maintenance Checklist

The maintenance you perform in the spring is the most important you’ll perform all year. That’s because your boat has most likely been sitting idle for a few months, and you want to make sure that it’s fully operational before hitting the water. You should also keep a boat maintenance log so that every time you go to service your boat, you have an accurate account of what you've repaired, replaced, updated, etc.

Here is a helpful spring maintenance checklist for you to follow this year:

1. Remove the cover and check for critters.

Your boat isn’t the only thing that went into hibernation over winter, and small animals love to use boats as a place to sleep themselves. The first thing you need to do is remove your boat cover and thoroughly check for any animals who might have used it for shelter. Animals can chew through wires and seats and seriously damage your boat, so it’s important to make sure there are none hiding out and wreaking havoc. You can also invest in pest control for your boat to bring yourself peace of mind for next year.

2. Check the engine and propeller.

Next, check your engine and propeller. Checking your engine involves performing an oil change, flushing out the old oil and replacing it with new, and making sure that all the belts in the engine are in good shape. You'll also have to check your fuel lines to make sure they haven’t dried out or cracked and look over your propeller to make sure it’s not broken, dented, or damaged in any way.

3. Check the steering system.

You’ll also want to check your steering system. Whether your boat has a cable steering system, which are common on many fishing boats, pontoons, and lower-cost models, or a hydraulic system, you’ll want to proactively check in and ensure that everything is healthy. Maintenance for hydraulic steering systems typically only involves occasionally letting out any excess air trapped in the system. For cable steering systems, maintenance involves annual greasing and cleaning out your engine’s tilt tube.

4. Check your battery.

Check the life of your battery and, if necessary, replace it. There’s nothing worse than getting out on the water only to have your battery die.

5. Attach electronics.

Check all your electronics, like GPS, navigation, depth finder, lights, speakers, etc., to make sure that they’re working and reattach them.

6. Clean all surfaces.

Your boat has undoubtedly collected some dust while it was out of use, so the next step is to clean everything. Wipe down all the canvas and vinyl and vacuum the carpeting. Cleaning also gives you a great opportunity to thoroughly inspect every part of your boat for any damage, and to make any needed repairs along the way.

7. Polish and wax.

After your boat is clean, you should polish and wax it. This step isn’t just for aesthetic reasons either; when you polish and wax your boat, you help preserve the integrity of the moldings, fiberglass, windshield, and leather, and it lasts longer.

By going through this spring boat maintenance checklist, you’ll also help prevent some of the most common boat repairs: a dead battery, contaminated fuel line, faulty electrical connections, a snapped belt, and an overheated engine. When you do everything on your spring maintenance checklist and update your boat maintenance log, you not only keep your boat in optimal condition but prevent major damage and the need for costly repairs.

Maintenance is key, but you don't have to go it alone. Who should perform any annual maintenance on your boat — apart from just you? The team over at Ed Watkins Marine. With over 65 years of combined boating service and experience, you can count on us for superior service. Get in touch today!