Use a Boating Checklist to Head Off Problems on the Water

With summer here, you’re eager to get out on the water. Before everyone piles aboard, though, you’ll need to run through your boating checklist to make sure everything is ship-shape.

As you know, winterizing is crucial to protect your vessel in the fall. In the same way, de-winterizing extends the life of your boat and reduces the risk of problems cropping up on the open water. Therefore, by following this checklist, you will set your boat up for success all summer long.

Make Sure All Systems Are Go

Did you know that mechanical failures cause 13% of all boating accidents?

To avoid such problems, set aside a day to give your boat a thorough inspection. Are the navigation systems working well, for instance? Turn on the engine for a few minutes to see for sure.

Use the boating checklist below to be sure you don’t forget anything.

Infographic lists boating checklist of items to be inspected before using the boat in open water.

Inspect and Clean the Hull

Look closely for any cracks, scrapes, or scratches that could cause bigger problems down the road. Also, watch for corrosion.

Check the Electronics

Leaks can lead to corrosion. Re-caulk as needed. Also, address broken lights or standing water.

Change the Engine Oil and Check Fluids

Change the oil if you didn’t change it in the fall. Water can sometimes get in the oil, leading to problems. Replace the fuel filter, too, if it’s been a while.

Inspect the Fuel Lines

Check fuel lines for softness, cracking, or brittleness. Also, look for leaks and be sure lines are well supported with clips or straps.

Check Belts, Cables, and Hoses

Watch for leaks and rusted clamps that may need to be repaired or replaced. Hoses should not have cracks, soft areas, or bulges, for instance. Clamps should be snug.

Check the Battery

Make sure the battery is fully charged. In some cases, you may need to reinstall it. Clean the area around the battery cable terminals with a wire brush. Next, apply protective spray or grease.

Inspect the Propeller for Damage

Watch for corrosion near the motor and dashboard. Check for pitting or other damage as well.

If you have a boat lift or use a trailer to launch your boat, those systems also need a good look. Check tire pressure, lights, brakes, and cables, in addition to other connections.

Check Your Registration

Avoid hassles by making sure your paperwork is up to date.

Follow the Boating Checklist to Stay Safe

You love being on the water. However, you also know there are risks. Therefore, taking inventory of your safety equipment should always be on your boating checklist.

Alerts and Alarms

Check your safety equipment, alerts, and alarms to be sure they’re functioning well.

Is your fire extinguisher working? Test your carbon monoxide alarms and fume detectors too. Furthermore, don’t forget to check your waterproof flashlight and sound-signaling device.

Safety Kit and Outdated Flares

Is your first aid kit fully stocked? Do you need more flares? Also, check the expiration dates on your flares.

Flotation Devices

Give life jackets and other flotation devices a close look. You can test their buoyancy in a bathtub or swimming pool.

Picture if a uniquely shaped type of pier in a homeowners back yard.
Different types of piers can be arranged in shapes that best fit your needs!

Let Captain Rod’s Prep Your Boat

If you’re strapped for time, consider having Captain Rod’s in McHenry, IL give your vessel’s engine and mechanical systems a thorough evaluation. Give us a call at (815) 759-9134 if you’d like us to prep your boat or if you just have a question.