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Is Your Boat Ready to Ride? A Spring Boating Safety Checklist

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Is Your Boat Ready to Ride? A Spring Boating Safety Checklist

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Given we’re heading into Spring and the weather’s warming up, you can bet many are polishing their boats, bikes and more to enjoy the sunlight. With that transition, of course, comes the potential for accidents, breakdowns and more calamities that could otherwise ruin anyone’s boating season. That’s why we’ve prepared this checklist to make sure you have everything in place before you hit the waves.

Boating Safety Checklist for Spring

Your boat will likely need some maintenance if it sat unused during the winter. Here are some things you should check:

  • Battery Reinstallation – Lead acid batteries can wear down some in your boat, so use distilled water and fully charge those batteries. Clean and tighten electrical connections, too. Use insulating grease and terminal spray as well.
  • Open and Close Seacocks – Over time, those parts of your boat can tighten up and rust. So loosen them up. Make sure hoses are double-clamped, too, with stainless steel.
  • Conduct a Raw Water Intake Strainer Inspection – If it’s cracked, get it replaced. If it’s dirty, clean it.
  • Check Running Lights – Just like you would do to your car, check your lights and make sure they’re functioning properly. If not, replace the bulbs or get a diagnostic to determine why they’re not turning on. Then get them fixed.
  • Evaluate VHF and GPS Antenna Connections – Disconnect them and then spray some moisture-displacing lubricant. Moisture can cause some damage. After application, test it again and see if it’s operational.
  • Locate Leaks If Necessary – Look around the trim cylinders and hoses, plus the hydraulic steering pumps and rams. If that O-ring or gasket is leaking, replace it.
  • Ensure the Stuffing Box or Shaft Seal Is Dry – This maintains the integrity of your boat.
  • Check for Green Corrosion – Look for it in port lights, hatches, and deck fittings. Also keep a watch for dirty or displaced caulking, water trails and dirt.
  • Test Bilge Pump, Switches, and Alarms – This includes smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as well as LPG and gasoline fume detectors.
  • Ensure You Have Enough Flares, Extinguishers and Other Safety Gear – You’ll want enough life jackets and MOB available on your boat.
  • Don’t Forget About Plastic Fittings, Dinging and Pitting Props – This is to ensure that when your boat is docked, it stays there safely.
  • Observe the Anodes and Rudderstock – You’ll want to ensure nothing’s bent or broken.
  • Check Bellows, Hydraulics and Lube Levels – Keep everything slick and seamless.
  • Fuel and Cooling Hoses Should Be in Good Working Order – That means looking for cracks, bulges and soft spots. Also your gas lines should say “USCG Approved, J1527.” If not, replace them.
  • Replace Filters – Do this for your fuel filters as well as air.
  • Manage All of Your Fluid Levels – Do this for your oil, transmission, hydraulic steering and coolant.
  • Check Belts, Pumps and Impellers – Tension, wear and tear as well as seepage are bad.
  • Have Exhaust Manifolds, Gaskets, Blowers and Cables Checked – Anything that happens under the “hood” will make a big difference to your boat.
  • Look at your Swage Fittings, Stays and Shrouds – Are they rusted, frayed or stained? Get them fixed or cleaned.
  • Make Sure Your Spreaders Bisect the Shrouds – That’s to prevent any chafing.
  • Remove Tape at Turnbuckles – Also lubricate those threads.
  • Lastly, Run a Water Hose Over Chainplates – You’re checking for any leaks. Just to be sure.

It Does Sound Like a Lot of Work, But It’s Worth it to Avoid Accidents

You certainly don’t want to be on the brunt of end of one. Boating accidents can be catastrophic, and they can also be avoided. Consult an attorney for more questions.

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