Spring Maintenance Checklist for Your Boat
Spring is here and you’re more than ready to get back out on the water. There are a few key things you’re going to need to take care of first though, to make sure that your boat is ready for the inaugural trip. Not only will properly de-winterizing your boat ensure that everything’s in good working order, it will help extend the life of the boat.
If your boat has been in dry storage for the winter, it’s a good idea to check your trailer first. This 10-minute check will let you move your boat back to the water with confidence. Most importantly, check the renewal date for your boating and fishing / crabbing licenses and make sure any required decals are easily visible.
To safely transport your boat back to the water, the trailer and tires need to be road-ready.
- Check trailer tires for pressure, any cracking, or inadequate tread. Replace tires if they’re older than 3-5 years.
- Check tongue latch and coupling
- Check trailer brake fluid level
- Check trailer lights and replace as needed
- Test the rollers
- Check the padding where the hull rests
Anchors, Lines and Ropes
All mooring and anchoring equipment should be clean and ready to go. It’s always a good idea to purchase new line before the start of the season.
- Check that you have enough rope to launch and tie your boat
- Check that you have enough rope to secure your boat in at least two areas
- Check all knots for anchors and hardware
- Check for any damaged or tangled line or rope
- Make sure any bumpers are in the boat
Belts, Cables and Hoses
Check for wear and tear and consult a boat mechanic if you have any concerns.
- Check for cracks and brittle areas
- Check for wear on belts
- Check the outer layer of control cables. Any cracking or swelling can be signs of a problem
As boaters, we rely heavily on electrical equipment for a safe and comfortable experience. Go through each of the electrical components on your boat to make sure everything’s in good working order.
- Check all connections for corrosion and cleanliness
- Remove battery terminals, clean connections with wire brush
- Check the battery is charged. Replace if needed
- Test the generator on full tilt
- Check interior and exterior lights
- Check navigational equipment (GPS)
- Check electrical box
- Check HVAC or air conditioner on hot and cold
Engine and Fuel System
The heart of your boat, you won’t get very far without the engine! We recommend a regular inspection by a trained boat technician, ideally at the start and end of the boating season.
- Check transom mounts (outboard)
- Check for any smoke
- Check transmission
- Check levers on every seacock
- Check raw water intake and strainer
- Inspect connections, hoses and tanks for damage or leaks
- Replace spark plugs and other components as needed
- Check that all clamps and fittings are tight
- Check that exhaust, engine and ventilation systems are working well
Topped-up fluids will keep your engine and steering column going strong. Replace any expired fluids and top up everything else as needed.
- Check coolant
- Check engine oil
- Check power steering fluid
- Check power trim reservoirs
- Check coolant levels
- Change engine oil, filter and drive lubricants as needed
Hull and Exterior
The key to prolonging the life of your boat, the hull should be kept clean and waxed, with any damage taken care of right away.
- Check hull for blisters, distortions and cracks
- Clean the hull, deck and topsides
- Check that the drain plug is secure *Put a backup drain plug somewhere safe on board
- Check for cracks or damage around fittings
- Check for damage on or around the hatches
- Check upholstery for any mold / mildew / tears
- Check the livewells
The living space and head are a cozy place to crash at the end of a busy day of fishing and water sports. Take a few minutes to check lighting, appliances and water, to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
- Check for water pressure and quality
- Check for damage to doors and portholes
- Check lights and switches
- Check for leaks in fridge
- Check temperature in fridge / freezer
- Test the appliances
- Check lights and switches
- Check TV, speakers and any other extras
A damaged propeller can’t work as efficiently as an undamaged one. If you see any marks or chips / dings that are concerning, talk to a pro about repair or replacement.
- Check propellers for any damage
- Make sure propeller is secure and replace bearings if needed
Safety Equipment and Gear
Up-to-date safety equipment is a huge part of any vessel. We recommend booking a safety inspection by the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS-ECP) if available.
- Check the flares
- Check marine radio
- Check condition of heaving line and lifebuoy(s)
- Check condition of first aid kit
- Check life jackets and replace any expired jackets
- Check the fire extinguishers. Replace if expired
- Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Replace batteries
For washing up and drinking, clean water is essential.
- If you added antifreeze, flush it out now
- Empty the grey and black tanks
- Refill the fresh-water tank
Clean the Boat
Give your boat a good spring clean to get it off to the best possible start this season.
- Clean the hull, scrubbing away any rusty spots or fuel drips
- Scrub any areas where mold may have started over the winter
- Clean the carpets and vacuum any debris
- Wash the windows
- Disinfect hard and soft surfaces using a gentle spray solution
- Spray a fabric protector on any vinyl to block harsh UV light
At Van Isle Marina, we offer moorage with annual, monthly and guest options. Conveniently located in sunny Sidney, BC on the Haro Strait, we’re just a quick cruise away from a variety of fantastic destinations. With amenities like storage lockers, car parking, and a full-service marine fueling station and dock store, you’ll find everything you could need to start and end your trip. Are you as excited for the summer boating season as we are? Come down and see us, or request services/moorage information by calling (250) 656-1138 or via email.