As boat owners anxiously anticipate winter to loosen its grip and summer weather to arrive they can take several steps to make sure their boat is ready to hit the water. Owning a boat can be a time consuming and challenging endeavor. Props crack, trailers get rusty, lights stop working and engines won’t start, just to name a few things. Hopefully, a few tips here will make sure your boat is ready when the weather turns and keep you on the water all summer long.
With all of the things to remember with boat ownership, it can be easy to forget that your boat needs to be registered like a car. Before getting your boat out of storage, make sure it is properly registered with the state of Michigan. Stickers need to be placed on both sides of the boat and kept up to date. One of the registration paper slips should be in your boat glove box. If this is a year your registration expires, be sure to go to the Michigan Secretary of State to register it.
How many times have you been going north on I-75 and you blow by someone stranded on the shoulder with a bad wheel? Make sure your trailer bearings are greased. Bearings on boat trailers often take more wear and tear due to the fact that they go in and out of water frequently. If you can’t recall when you bearings where checked, repacked or replaced be sure to get them checked out. Additionally, lights take a beating when going in and out of the water. Be sure to check your trailer lights to make sure your running lights, brake lights, and taillights are working properly.
Life Jacket Inventory
Everyone, not just kids, needs to have a life jacket accounted for on a boat. Kids obviously must wear one at all times. Be sure that all of your life jackets fit properly, are certified and that you have enough for all passengers on the boat, including the driver. Check the compartments of our boat and make sure you have enough. Additionally, check their condition. When life jackets are stored wet or damp, they can gain mildew.
Check the Battery
Batteries hate the cold more than most Michiganders. If your battery was exposed to cold weather, there is a good chance it is drained and potentially died. Be sure to check it and make sure it is charged up and ready to go for the season.
Fire Up The Engine
If you are like most people, you don’t have the luxury of living on one of Michigan’s lakes. So your boat sits in storage, your driveway or a barn all offseason. Before you load the family up and head to the lake, be sure to run start it and run the motor. Of course, don’t just start it up without water running through the unit. You can put on a pair of “boat muffs”, otherwise known as motor flushers, hooked to a garden hose over your unit. Run the hose water through and then test starting and running your engine without burning it up. Doing this before you try to get it in the water will eliminate major problems at the launch!
Summer is finally almost here. Be sure to maximize your time on the water by preparing your boat now.