Get Ready for Boating This Year
During the cold winter months my thoughts often turn towards images of a boat gently rocking in the waves. One thing I am looking forward to is the boating season. Here in Colorado most of the lakes are frozen during the winter. When the weather starts warming up and lakes are thawing, you may want to get your boat seaworthy before your first trip. So here are some times you might want to consider before you head out to a lake, river or ocean this year.
First off, check your registration. Most states require some form of registration for your boat and trailer if you use one. Check both to make sure that they are current. You don't want to be turned away at the marina, or worse, get a ticket on the way to the water because your registration is out of date. Go ahead and get your boat and trailer registration now so you don't have to worry about it at the last moment.
Next, check out the condition of your boat and trailer. Make sure that everything is still in working order. Do your trailer lights work? How are your tires? Make sure that the tread is in good shape and that there isn't any dry rot that could cause the tire to blow out on the highway. Also check to see that all the tires have air, even the spare. If you haven't done it in a while consider having your bearings repacked.
Check the electrical connections between your vehicle and trailer to make sure that they are free from corrosion and have not been chewed up by the neighborhood family of mice. If you have a new trailer or different vehicle from last year make sure all of your connections, including electrical, match and are working properly.
Next check inside your boat. Get it cleaned out if there is any trash or debris in it from sitting over the winter. Check any gaskets around the bottom of the boat to make sure that they haven't dried out and cracked. Check to see if you have fuel in the tank and consider having the engine tuned up if it needs it. This is a good time to change the oil in the lower unit if you haven't already, here is a hub describing how to do it yourself. Make sure you don't start the engine unless you have a way to connect water to it, you don't want to burn out the engine by running it dry. Check to see that the batteries on the boat are charged and will hold a charge. Make sure the lights are working and that you have any required safety equipment, such as life vests, oars, sound devices, fire extinguishers, etc.
Now is a good time to check your "toys," if you have them. Check your equipment for water skiing, tubing, diving or fishing. Make sure your rods are ready to go fishing. If you use specialty equipment, like lead core line, make sure it is in working condition and stored on the boat ready to go.
When you are ready to get out on the water don't forget to pack food, water, sunscreen, bug repellent and anything else that you will want while out on the water. You don't want to get out there and realize you forgot something important.
Hopefully this will help you to get ready, and to have an enjoyable summer on the water. Feel free to let me know how you get ready in the comment section below.!