Spring is right around the corner and we’re sure that you are itching to get your boat out into the water! Whether you are an avid fisherman, a water sports enthusiast, or just like to go out on the weekends with the family in your pontoon boat, you need to make sure that your boat is de-winterized and ready for the year!
We have had an above-average winter here in New Jersey, which probably leads to you anxiously waiting to get back into the water. Before you know it we will be in shorts, BBQs will be firing, and the fish will be biting. Spring commissioning is the time to get your boat ready for the season, and there is no shortage of chores that come along with this job.
Below is a short list of tips to get your boat ready for the season. Of course, there are many, many things to consider when performing a Spring commissioning on your boat, and for a full, comprehensive, professional job, we perform Spring commissions here at Sheltered Cove Marina. Fill out our digital form, sign the document, and let us do the work for you, freeing you from the responsibilities!
How do I prepare my boat for the spring?
95% of the work and focus will be on the mechanicals of the boat itself: checking lights, performing diagnostic tests, inspection, etc., but we sometimes forget that as boat owners, we need service work as well. This is a great time to plan ahead for the fun, safe season of boating:
- Take a boating safety course (if you haven’t already)
- Re-familiarize yourself with your boat, its components, features, and safety precautions
- Read your owner’s manual! So many people ignore this important book, but it provides you with safety information that you may not have known about as well as the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance guidelines if you are a do-it-yourselfer.
Pre-Launch Boat Inspections and Maintenance
Failing to plan is planning to fail! Before you just back your boat into the water for the season you want to make sure that everything is working properly and safely. While you can perform this maintenance and inspection work yourself, we always suggest using certified technicians and mechanics to inspect and perform that work. Here at Sheltered Cove, we offer fair, upfront pricing, and our level of service is unparalleled, providing quality workmanship trained directly from the factory. Our employees are intimately familiar with the products that they use, inspect, and work on.
Whether you get a professional to take a look over your boat, or if you do it yourself, be sure to at least follow this checklist before you leave the dock for the first time:
- check and inspect all safety equipment on board: fire extinguishers, flares, personal floatation devices, and first aid kits. Repair, recharge, restock, repurchase everything that is necessary
- make sure all lights on your boat are working properly
- open the engine compartment and check for excess water in the bilge
- check for any electrical issues such as loos, disconnected, or corroded conductors
- check fuel tanks: make sure there is proper ventilation and that there are no leaks
- make sure your battery is properly secured to the vessel
- change and check the oil level before starting your boat for the first time
- ensure that there is no water present in your fuel filters
- fill your tank with high-quality fuel such as Slipstream, which we carry here at our fuel dock
- if you are towing your boat to the dock, inspect your trailer as well: check lights and make sure your tires are inflated before hitting the road
Getting your boat in and out of the water this year
Now that you have looked over your boat and made sure that you are ready for the spring, it is important to remember to check for some issues when you finally get the boat into the water and the engine started for the first time:
- most importantly, make sure to follow safe launching practices
- monitor the cooling system to make sure it is operating as expected
- make sure to check the engine temperature to ensure that it is no overheating
- ensure that you and your passengers know and follow safe boating practices
Of course, this is a basic list – our full Spring Commissioning is a full, comprehensive check of every part of your boat. Every boat is different, and some require more work than what is listed above. This is just a starting off point. The exact work required to get your boat ready depends on if it will be used in salt or freshwater, its size, manufacturer, and model. Make sure you get the proper information before you launch your boat, and establish a Spring ritual that you can adhere to every year.
We hope everybody enjoys and happy, fun, safe boating season!