Improve the Bottom Line: When you haul the boat, power-wash the hull. Do the same for the lower unit or prop shaft, trim tabs, and propellers. Inspect the hull and gelcoat for cracks, blisters, or other damage. You can repair minor dings and scrapes yourself, but for any major items like gelcoat blisters, it’s best to hire a pro. Remove and replace all zincs, and inspect all through-hull fittings, grates, and engine-water intakes to ensure they are clear of barnacles and debris. Paint the hull and running gear as needed.
Tune-up the Topsides: Test the navigation lights (masthead, sidelights, stern light) for proper operation and make sure the lenses are watertight. Clean windows, seats and other surfaces and all deck hardware. Replace cushions that are worn, and wash, compound, and wax the topsides. Strip and re-varnish any brightwork or hire a local expert. Inspect ground anchor, including all connections, and replace worn line, splices, or rusty shackles.
Prep the Propulsion: Check and clean the bilge and remove all water, oils and debris. Next, test the bilge pump to make sure it is working, especially the automatic float switch.
Remove the battery and clean the terminals. Check battery water levels, charge the battery, spray terminals with corrosion inhibitor, and reinstall the battery.
If applicable, change the oil and fuel filters on the engine(s) and generator. Change or top off lower unit or outdrive gear oil. If your boat has an I/O, check trip tab hydraulics. Check the spark plugs, fuel pump, electrical system, fuel lines, hoses, clamps, and engine drive belts for signs of wear and damage. Repair or replace as needed. This is also a good time to inventory your spare parts
Heads-Up On the Head: No one notices the head unless there’s a problem—and if there’s a problem, it’s usually a big one. Inspect sanitation lines, valves and vented loops to ensure the system is working properly. Flush the holding tank if your boat has one.
Survey the Safety Equipment: Check expiration dates on emergency flares and fire extinguisher(s) and replace or service as needed.
Avoid groundings by updating your paper and electronic charts. If you haven’t already done so, download the free Sea Tow App for smartphones at www.seatow.com/app. It will put GPS, navigation, tides, weather and other key information at your fingertips and let you call Sea Tow for help with the swipe of a thumb.
Ensure all life jackets and the throwable cushion/ring are undamaged and ready for use. Make sure you have life jackets that properly fit all of your family members and friends who may go out with you on the boat.
Use Sea Tow’s Automated Radio Check system to ensure your VHF Radio is working properly. Visit www.seatow.com/arc to find the Automated Radio Check VHF Channel in your boating area.
Now you are ready to get back on the water and have fun!