Spring into the Boating Season - Use This Pre-Launch Checklist
OUT OF THE WATER:
- Inspect and lubricate seacocks. Hoses and hose clamps should be inspected and replaced as necessary.
- Replace deteriorated zincs.
- Inspect prop(s) for dings, pitting and distortion. Make sure cotter pins are secure. Grip the prop and try moving the shaft - if it's loose, the cutlass bearing may need to be replaced.
- Check to make sure the rudder stock hasn't been bent.
- Inspect the hull for blisters, distortions and stress cracks.
- Make sure your engine intake sea strainer is free of corrosion and properly secured.
Outdrives and outboards:
- Inspect rubber outdrive bellows for cracked, dried and/or deteriorated spots (look especially in the folds), and replace if suspect.
- Check power steering and power trim oil levels. Replace worn-out zincs.
- Inspect outer jacket of control cables. Cracks or swelling indicate corrosion and could mean that the cable should be replaced.
Engines and fuel systems:
- Inspect fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or cracking. Check all joints for leaks and make sure all lines are well supported with non-combustible clips or straps with smooth edges.
- inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Clamps should be snug and free of heavy rust. Clean fuel filters.
- Inspect cooling hoses and fittings for stiffness, rots, leaks and/or cracking. Make sure they fit snugly and are double-clamped.
- Every few years, remove and inspect exhaust manifold for corrosion.
- Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables. Wire-brush battery terminals and fill cells with distilled water.
- Inspect bilge blower hose for leaks.
- Inspect fittings for cracks and rust. Inspect wire halyards and running backstays for "fishhooks" and rust .
- Remove tape on turnbuckles and lubricate threads, preferably with Teflon. Replace old tape with fresh tape.
- Recaulk deck-mounted chainplates as necessary.
IN THE WATER:
- Check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for steady leaks and looseness.
- Use a hose to check for deck leaks at ports and hatches. Renew caulks or gaskets as necessary.
- Inspect tire treads and sidewalls for cracks or lack of tread and replace as necessary. Check air pressure. Don't forget the spare!
- Inspect bearings and repack as necessary.
- Test tail and back-up lights. Test winch to make sure it's working properly.
- Check expiration dates on flares and fire extinguishers.
- Check stove and remote tanks for loose fittings and leaking hoses.
- Inspect bilge pump and float switch to make sure it's working properly.
- Inspect dock and anchor lines for chafing.
- Update or replace old charts, waterway guides.
- Make sure your boating license and/or registration is up to date. Don't forget your trailer tags.
- Review your boat insurance policy and update coverage if needed.
- Make sure you have a properly sized and wearable life jackets in good condition for each passenger, including kids and pets.
Boat Pre-Season Checklist
Do a general cleaning of hull, deck and topsides using a mild detergent
Make sure drains and scuppers are clear
Put on a good coat of wax
Clean and polish metal with a good metal polish
Clean teak and oil
Clean windows and hatches
Clean canvas, bimini and dodger
Clean interior including bilges
Check spare parts and tools and replace as necessary
Make sure registration is current and onboard
Check and replace wiper blades if necessary
Check for hull abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc. and repair
Check and replace zincs
Check for blisters and refinish is necessary
Check rub rails
Check swim platform and/or ladder
Inspect and test trim tabs
Check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop
Check rudder and fittings
Touch up or replace antifouling paint
DECK, FITTINGS, SAFETY EQUIPMENT:
Check stanchion, pulpits and lifelines for integrity
Check ground tackle, lines, fenders, etc.
Check chainplates and cleats
Check hull/deck joint
Check deck, windows, and port lights for leaks
Inspect anchor windlass and lubricate
Clean and grease winches
Check and lubricate blocks, pad eyes, etc.
Check dinghy, and life raft
Check, test and lubricate seacocks
Check condition of hoses and clamps
Make sure below waterline hoses are double clamped
Check bilges pumps for automatic and manual operation
Check for oil in bilges
Check limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM AND COMPONENTS:
Check battery water level
Check terminals for corrosion, clean and lubricate
Check bonding system
Inspect all wiring for wear and chafe
Test all gauges for operability
Check shore power and charger
Check for spare fuses
Check all lighting fixtures (including navigation lights) and make sure you have spare bulbs
Check all electronics for proper operation
REQUIRED AND RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT:
Sound signaling device
Check distress signals and expiration date
Inspect life rings and cushions
Check fire extinguishers and recharge if necessary
Check and adjust compass
Check navigation lights
Check charts and replace as necessary
Check radar reflector
Check and replace first aid supplies
Check bailer and hand pump
Change oil & filters - have spare onboard
Check and change fuel filters - have spares onboard
Check and change engine zincs
Check cooling system change coolant as necessary - have extra onboard
Record engine maintenance log, especially date & hours of last oil changes
Check belts for tension
Check transmission fluid
Check and clean backfire flame arrestor
Check and clean water strainer
Check bilge blower
Checked for smooth operation - lubricate and clean as necessary
If equipped with treatment system, have chemicals on hand
Y-valve operation checked, valve labeled & secured
Flush water tank
Check water system and pump for leaks and proper operation
Check hot water tank working on both AC and engines
Check for tank cap keys on board
Check and clean shower sump pump screens
Fill propane tank, check electric & manual valves, check
storage box vent to make sure it is clear
Check refrigerator, clean and freshen, operate on AC and DC
Clean stove, check that all burners and oven are working
Check microwave, if fitted
Replace spark plugs
Check plug wires for wear
Check prop for nicks and bends
Change/fill gear lube
Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb and tank for leaks
Lubricate and spray moveable parts
Change out the water pump impeller after 3 years
Check for current registration
Check rollers and pads
Check and lubricate wheel bearings
Clean and lubricate winch
Lubricate tongue jack and wheel
Test lights and electrical connections
Check tire pressure and condition
Check brakes (if equipped)
Check safety chains
Check tongue lock