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With temperatures jumping above the 80-degree mark, it can mean only one thing - the boating season is fast approaching.
With a little bit of time and effort, or out-of-pocket expense, a pre-season maintenance check can go a long way toward ensuring a more pleasurable summer.
Many boaters pay a mechanic to do it, but you can do it, too.
The Boat Owners Association of the United States offers the following “Springtime Commissioning Checklist.”
• Inspect, lubricate and exercise seacocks, or the valves connected to thru-hull fittings. Inspect and replace corroded or failed hose clamps. Consider doubling up on hose clamps and use marine tested, made of stainless steel.
• Check for stiff, swelled or cracked rubber hoses.
• Replace deteriorated anodes or zincs. Recycle or dispose properly.
• Check condition of the propeller and propeller shaft. Using a garden hose, check for leaks around weather tight doors and hatches.
• Once launched, check all thru-hull fittings for leakage.
Engine Outdrives and Outboards
• Inspect outdrive bellows for cracks or spots that could cause leaks.
• Check fluid levels for power steering and trim systems.
• Replace deteriorated anodes or zincs on outdrives or outboard lower units.
• Check the condition of control cable jackets. Cracks are a sign the cable should be replaced.
Engines and Fuel Systems
• Check the condition of all fuel lines onboard. If the boat uses ethanol blended fuel, be sure fuel lines are rated for use with alcohol.
• Check for fuel leaks. Trouble points can include points where hoses are clamped, around filter gaskets and fuel pumps.
• Removal and inspection of exhaust manifold for corrosion is recommended on a two- or three-year basis.
• Inspect and clean battery and electrical connections. Check battery fluid levels.
• Inspect the condition of flexible bilge blower hoses.
• Check stays for frayed wire strands and swaged cable fittings for corrosion.
• Clean and lubricate turnbuckles. Apply a layer of protective tape.
• Remove the chain plate to inspect it for moisture into decks or side decks.
• Check tires, wheel bearings and vehicle lighting. .
• Inspect trailer wheel bearings and repack them if needed.
• Check trailer and tow vehicle lighting. Inspect the boat trailer for rust and corrosion.
• Check bunks and sideboards condition.
• Inspect brake systems and fluid levels.
Brad Harvey is a freelance writer in Clover. bradharveyoutdoors.com .