Something as simple as a checklist can help make sure your spring boat launch is a successful one. Nobody wants to pull away from the dock and encounter a problem.
Spring is also a great time to remember any of the little things you wanted to do, such as replace your old life jackets, tubes, ski ropes or even upgrade your stereo system.
We can’t cover everything in terms of a checklist, since there is such a variety of boats, trailers, etc. Our intent is to provide you with a solid starting point to help make your start of the boating season a positive one.
If you are looking to update, replace, or purchase new, Reed’s Marine carries an entire line of boating products to meet your needs. Whether it’s new lifejackets, wetsuits, skis, wakeboards, tubes, ropes, bumpers, or other boating necessities you’ll be able to find it at Reed’s Marine, or online at ReedsMarine.org.
Documents: review your license, registration, etc. and make sure they are current They are best kept in a watertight bag or container. Make sure you have current trailer tags, if applicable. Also, spring is a good time to make sure you have insurance!
Life Jackets: always check your Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) to ensure that they are in good condition and that there are enough for everyone. It is also important to ensure that each individual has the correct size PFD for their body weight. There should be no rips or missing parts. The PFDs should be in good condition.
Fire Extinguisher: ensure any fire extinguishers you have on board are fully charged and mounted in the proper place and are the correct class of extinguisher for your vessel.
Plugs: make sure that any/all drain/stern plugs are in place tightly and that any rubber seals or gaskets are in good condition and haven’t cracked or dried out over the storage season.
Hoses and Clamps: have a look at all hoses and clamps and replace as necessary – a quick inspection is worthwhile, especially on larger motors. Cooling hoses and even exhaust/blower hoses/pipes should be inspected for stiffness, rot and leaks. Make sure exhaust/blower hoses are connected tightly – double up on clamps if necessary.
Propellers: always inspect your propellers for dings, pitting, cracks and distortion. Damaged propellers can cause unwanted vibration and can cause damage to your drive train. Make sure any connectors, such as cotter pins, are secure and grip the prop to see how loose it is. It is not uncommon to have to replace bearings when loose shafts are found.
Inboards: examine the rudderstock to ensure it has not been bend or compromised in any way.
Hulls: this may be an obvious one; however, hull examination is often overlooked. Look for blisters, distortions and cracks.
Water Intake Strainer: make sure your strainer is free from obstruction, is secure and is free from corrosion.
Large Inboards: check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for looseness before and after you launch. Also ensure your through-hulls have no leaks.
Outboards and Outdrives: ensure with a visual inspection that your outdrive bellows are not cracked, dried or deteriorated. Pay careful attention to the folds and replace any that are questionable.
Fluid Levels: check all of your fluid levels, from engine oil to power steering and power trim reservoirs. Also don’t forget to replace any worn out zincs.
Cables: a simple inspection of the outer jacket of your control cables will let you know if you have to take immediate action. Make sure there are no cracks or swells and look for corrosion. This is an area where you want to pay special attention, especially if you see signs of deterioration.
Fuel Lines: inspect fuel lines as best you can. Check very closely every spring, including fill and vent hoses. Look specifically for softness, brittleness or cracking. We found a leak because of a bad clamp. Remember, you are dealing with combustible fluids!
Fuel Tanks: check your tanks annually, as well as pumps and filters. Replace your filters every spring.
Electrical Connections: inspect as many electrical connections that you can for cleanliness and tightness. Corrosion is often a sign that your connection may not be a good one, especially on battery cables. It’s a good idea to remove the terminals and wire brush them along with the cable ends.
Bilge Pumps: check for leaks and for float switch operation as well as corrosion.
Trailer Tires: inspect tire treads and sidewalls for wear, cracks and replace as necessary.
Tire Inflation: ensure that you have the appropriate air pressure for your tires and don’t forget the spare!
Bearings: Inspect bearings and repack if necessary.
Trailer Lights: inspect all trailer lights, brake lights, turn indicators and don’t forget the reverse lights.
Trailer Winch: Have a look at the winch and cable or strap. All can wear and become dangerous in time. If any parts are not working properly they should be replaced right away.
Trailer Frame: we encourage inspection of all the working parts and electrical system of the trailer, however, don’t forget the trailer itself. Look for rust and action accordingly.
Flares and Fire Extinguishers: every spring, before you head out, you should check your safety equipment, especially flares and fire extinguishers for expiration dates and pressure, if appropriate. Give extinguishers a bit of a shake to keep the powder loose.
Ropes and Lines: Have a quick look at your lines – make sure they are not damaged, chafed or deteriorating, and replace as necessary. Keep lines untangled and coiled for ease of use.
Charts and Maps: examine your charts and maps – update or replace as necessary.
Emergency Lights: your emergency lights and signal devices should be inspected and make sure you have new batteries.
Running Lights: make a quick check to see if all of your running lights are working.
Check it Out
Don’t have an item on the checklist? Need a part? Visit our full retail boating store in Manson or online at ReedsMarine.org for all your boating supplies and parts. Not sure what the part number is, or the make and model? Give us a call and we will make sure we help you find what you need! 866-447-9502
Federal Dock and Local Launch Permits:
We carry annual and daily federal dock permits and launch permits for Old Mill Launch on Lake Chelan. Just stop on in and pick up your permit at the counter.
Boating Safety Class?…Yes it’s Required!
All boaters 35 years of age or younger are required to obtain their Boater Education Card. The phased-in period for compliance will continue until 2016 for various age groups. Boaters born before January 1, 1955 will be exempt from having to obtain a Boater Education Card.
*Passing the Washington boating safety course may make you eligible for a discount on your boat or PWC insurance. Send a copy of your boater safety certificate to your agent and start saving!
Stop in Reed’s Marine to pick up your free copy of the Boater’s Safety Book.
Call us today for any of your boating needs or questions.