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Old 02-04-2010, 07:38 PM
Bamby Bamby is offline

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Default Spring Boat and Trailer Preparation

Are you truly ready for spring boating season, here's a list of a lot of items you should potentially check before you head to the boat ramp.

Before you launch your boat this coming year, itís always best to give everything a good once over.

Hopefully it won't be to long until our boats will find their way out of winter storage, and weíll be backing them into the water hoping for a great day in the great outdoors. But if you don't take some time before you leave the marina or your driveway, you may be heading back at the dock a lot sooner than you intended. Nothing is more frustrating than a ruined planned outing, unless maybe it's a trip that got ruined right when youíve heard the fishing had turned on. Do yourself a big favor and give your boat a thorough going over before it's time to put her in. Doing a pre-launch inspection is a very productive way to spend a waning winter day and you'll still have time to take care of any problems without having to rush around frantically at the last minute. This is also a good time to reflect back to last year's season and remember any of those things that you were going to add or change before this upcoming season.

You may need to adapt this list to your own needs since it covers a wide variety of equipment that you may or may not have. Most of the items on this checklist are things that just require a visual inspection but a few may need more attention.

Before You Launch:

Ensure that the stern drain plug is installed and that the rubber is in good condition, free of cracks and signs of dry rot or deterioration.

Inspect all hoses and hose clamps and replace any as necessary.

Props should be inspected for dings, pitting and any distortion. Then remove prop(s) and check for and remove any fishing line or other foreign materials wrapped around the spline, then apply a light coat of grease to the spline and then ensure the cotter pins are reinstalled securely. Firmly grip the prop and try moving the shaft to see if it is loose a loose shaft may indicate that a cutlass bearing may need to be replaced.

Inboards should have the rudderstock examined to make sure it hasn't been bent.

Hulls should be inspected for blisters, any distortions or stress cracks.

Check your engine's water intake strainer to make sure it's free of corrosion and debris and securely in place.

For large inboards, check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for any looseness and after the boat is launched check them again for through-hulls for leaks.

Outdrives and Outboard Engines:

Inspect the rubber outdrive bellows for cracked, dried or deteriorated areas these are often found in the folds and replace any that are suspect.

Check the oil levels of the power steering and power trim reservoirs and replace any deteriorated zincs.

Inspect the outer jackets of all control cables any cracks or swelling indicates corrosion beneath the outer cover it would be wise to be proactive and replace any cables that show signs of deterioration.

Tighten all loose fittings, bolts and screws that may have vibrated loose paying special attention to your motor's main mounting bolts, and if you've got a kicker motor check that oneís bolts as well. A 3/4" socket will snug them down quickly. Many boats are operated for sometimes for months with loose mounts and itís usually when something bad happens that gets your attention. Like a kicker motor falling off the transom in heavy weather, which prompts a thorough check from stem to stern. It's far better to give everything an inspection before you're staring down into the water, wondering how to fish a motor off the bottom of the lake.

Engines and Fuel Systems:

All fuel lines should be inspected very closely every spring including the fill and vent hoses. Look for any softness, brittleness or cracking. Inspect all joints for leaks and make sure all lines are well supported with non-combustible clips or straps with smooth edges.

Fuel tanks should also be inspected annually along with both the fuel pumps and fuel filters. Look for leaks or signs of deterioration all clamps should be snug and free of any rust. This is also a good time to clean or replace your fuel filters as necessary.

Cooling hoses and fittings should be inspected for stiffness, rot, leaks or any cracking also check for a snug fit and double clamps.

Check the exhaust manifold(s) for any corrosion.

Inspect all electrical connections for cleanliness and tightness especially both ends of battery cables connections. Check the batteries and fill any low cells with distilled water as needed and itís a good idea to remove the terminals and wire-brush both the battery terminals and the cable ends.

Bilge pumps and blower hoses should be also checked for any leaks and also check the float switch for operation as well as any corrosion.


Inspect all trailer tire's tread and sidewalls, carefully looking for cracks or lack of tread and replacing any as necessary.

Check the air pressure in your tires and don't forget the spare!

Bearings should be inspected and repacked as needed.
Test the trailers taillights, brake lights, turn indicators and back-up lights repairing or replacing any as needed.

Check your trailer's winch to make sure it's working properly and inspect the cable or winch strap for any excessive wear.

Give the trailer frame a good inspection for any rusting areas then consider best treatment(s) to prevent any further deterioration of the frame.


All flares and fire extinguishers should be inspected for their expiration dates, also a good idea to turn powder extinguishers upside down and give them a little shake to keep the powder loose.

Dock and anchor lines should be inspected for chafing or deterioration and replaced as necessary, then re-coiling the lines and stowing them for ease of use.

Examine your charts and waterway guides and update or replace all outdated materials.

Make sure your boats license and registration is up to date also don't forget the trailer tags.
Now is a good time to review your boat insurance policy and update any coverage as needed also be sure you have fuel spill insurance in coverage.

Make sure you have properly sized and wearable life jackets in good condition for all potential passengers including kids.

Sea anchors should be checked for holes or worn fabric.

Running lights should be checked and contacts cleaned if necessary.

Check your kill switch to make sure it is functioning properly and that the lanyard is attached.

Emergency lights and signal devices should be inspected and have new batteries installed if appropriate.

Rod holders should be inspected to make sure they are free of rough edges that will abrade line or damage rods.

Inspect live wells for trash or residue and ensure that all pumps are working properly also check any live bait aerators for function as well checking hoses and clamps for leakage.

Thoroughly inspect the first aid kit for expiration dates of supplies and replace any or all expired items promptly.

Recommended Spare Items:
1. Spark plugs & wrench--------------5. Extra cotter pins
2. General tool kit-----------------------6. Flashlight
3. Extra Prop-----------------------------7. Starting fluid
4. Extra shear pin-----------------------8. Extra stern plug


Have I forgotten anything? If I failed to mention or cover something please sign on to the thread and let me know and I'll update her.
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Spring Boat and Trailer Preparation

GREAT post Bamby. All good tips. Especially the one about the plug. Very important.
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boat, checklist, preparation, spring, trailer

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