When the snow melts and the crocuses appear, it’s time to think about the boat again, and ‘de-winterising’ is a spring ritual that heralds a fun day. By knowing what you need to take care of, you can save money and reap the benefits of taking care of your boat yourself. There are many different boat types and sizes, and you should always consult the owner’s manual for specific instructions and considerations. This comprehensive checklist is designed to help you ensure that you have everything you need covered.
Propellers, Topsides, Deck, and Hull
Damage can occur due to storage methods and locations, so you need to check the hull for possible problems. First, check your boat cover for cracks, then examine your hull inch by inch and check it for any cracks. If the screws and fittings are still tight and lubricated, you should not see cracks or blisters on the hull, but only a small amount of water in the cracks. Clean the hull and deck and repair any areas where the paint looks worn out and carry out necessary repairs. Look at the colours and clean and repaint – paint any colour where possible, as well as cleaning any areas where the paint looks worn out.
Now is the time to look for mould or mildew that may have crept into any of the surfaces, as well as fungi. While high-quality, ventilated covers are supposed to eliminate mould and mould problems, using tarpaulins or non-ventilated covers can still lead to fungal infestation. Depending on how bad the mould or mildew is, dilute bleach with a little water, e.g. 1-2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of hot water.
Wash the hull and lid thoroughly with a non-abrasive cleaner and scrape thoroughly to get rid of anything that has grown fast. In order to protect and preserve the colour, use waxes such as wax-on or wax-grow. This can extend the life of the paint by two or three seasons, so it is a good idea to use wax if you have not done so recently.
If the propeller has been damaged, it is important to keep it in top shape, so check and replace the bearings if necessary.
According to Lucca Trailers, this is also a good time to inspect the boat trailer, you don’t want to be surprised if there has been water damage, so check for any signs of corrosion or damage.
Electrical and Batteries
Clean the battery, clean the terminal cable end and then charge the batteries, clean them and recharge them. If your battery can hold a charge while charging, it will be ready for use in the next few days or even a week.
It is a good idea to use a stainless steel locking nut to prevent loosening of the cable. Look at the electrical connections and check and verify that all electrical objects and electronics are functioning properly. You want to see clean, tight and corrosion-free connections, so look for them first.
Do not forget to turn on the battery switch to ensure that the automatic bilge pump works. Test the rudder and cabin switches with a high-speed electric motor and a low-power generator.
If you see no damaged objects and everything seems to work correctly, you are all ready to go. If you notice any damage or potential problems, consult a professional electrician who can fix them safely.
If you use antifreeze in your freshwater tank, rinse it before connecting the pump and flushing the water pipes. If you must, remove the antifreeze when you have made your water system winter-proof, and rinse with water from the tank. Put pressure on the system and open each tap individually to ensure a clean water flow and use the solution to disinfect the water system.
The bilge area is inspected for liquid leaks and the fuel lines are inspected to find any cracks and if you need to replace any damaged parts. Check all liquid levels, including water, oil, gas, diesel, fuel, air, oxygen and other liquids in the bilge area, fuel tank and any other related area. Change engine oil and oil filter at least once a week, if not more, but definitely more than once every two weeks.
Hoses, Cables, and Belts
Make sure that the belts fit tightly around the pulley and check the hose for cracks and brittleness. Look for signs of swelling in the pulley, such as swelling at the bottom of the tube or a small amount of water in it. This could signal internal corrosion and cause problems with the motor and/or power supply.
The fuel system should be checked for leaks and damage. Check the functionality of the engine ventilation and make sure that the fittings and clamps are sufficiently safe. Check for brittleness and cracks, and if you notice any problems, call in a specialist to fix them. If there has been fuel left in the tank over the winter, empty it and fill it with fresh fuel that contains less than 10% ethanol. Pay particular attention to the fuel if you have not filled your tank to three or four quarters and added fuel stabilizer for storage in winter. Check the condition of the control cables, check the safety kill switch and if you notice any wear or malfunction, replace any worn or defective parts.
Before starting your boat, listen to engine noises such as exhaust or engine noises. If you hear anything abnormal, you should consult a specialist to diagnose the problem.