help boaters have a trouble-free summer boating
season, BoatU.S. the nation’s largest recreational
boating association, has a spring commissioning
checklist. Whether you have a power or sailboat,
inboard or outboard, following this checklist
is an easy way to get ready for the season.
- Inspect and lubricate seacocks.
Hoses and hose clamps should be inspected
and replaced as necessary.
- Replace deteriorated zincs.
- Inspect prop(s) for dings,
pitting and distortion. Make sure cotter pins
are secure. Grip the prop and try moving the
shaft - if it’s loose, the cutlass bearing
may need to be replaced.
- Check to make sure the
rudderstock hasn’t been bent.
- Inspect the hull for blisters,
distortions and stress cracks.
- Make sure your engine intake
sea strainer is free of corrosion and properly
- Check the engine shaft
and rudder stuffing boxes for looseness. After
the boat is launched, be sure to check these
as well as through-hulls for leaks.
- Use a hose to check for
deck leaks at ports and hatches. Renew caulk
or gaskets as necessary. OUTDRIVES and OUTBOARD
- Inspect rubber outdrive
bellows for cracked, dried and/or deteriorated
spots (look especially in the folds), and
replace if suspect.
- Check power steering and
power trim oil levels. Replace worn-out zincs.
- Inspect outer jacket of
control cables. Cracks or swelling indicate
corrosion and mean that the cable has to be
ENGINES AND FUEL SYSTEMS:
- Inspect fuel lines, including
fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness
or cracking. Check all joints for leaks and
make sure all lines are well supported with
non-combustible clips or straps with smooth
- Inspect fuel tanks, fuel
pumps and filters for leaks. Clamps should
be snug and free of rust. Clean fuel filters.
- Inspect cooling hoses and
fittings for stiffness, rot, leaks and/or
cracking. Make sure they fit snugly and are
- Every few years, remove
and inspect exhaust manifold for corrosion.
- Clean and tighten electrical
connections, especially both ends of battery
cables. Wire-brush battery terminals and fill
cells with distilled water.
- Inspect bilge blower hose
- Inspect fittings for cracks
and rust. Inspect wire halyards and running
backstays for “fishhooks” and
- Remove tape on turnbuckles
and lubricate threads, preferably with Teflon.
Replace old tape with fresh tape.
- Recaulk through-deck
as necessary (generally, once a decade).
- Inspect tire treads and
sidewalls for cracks or lack of tread and
replace as necessary. Check air pressure.
Don’t forget the spare!
- Inspect bearings and repack
- Test tail and back-up lights.
Test winch to make sure it’s working
- Inspect trailer frame for
rust. Sand and paint to prevent further deterioration.
- Check expiration dates
on flares and fire extinguishers.
- Check stove and remote
tanks for loose fittings and leaking hoses.
- Inspect bilge pump and
float switch to make sure it’s working
- Inspect dock and anchor
lines for chafing.
- Update or replace old charts,
- Check shore power cable
connections for burns, which indicates the
cable needs to be replaced.
- Make sure your boating
license and/or registration is up to date.
Don’t forget your trailer tags.
- Review your boat insurance
policy and update coverage if needed. Be sure
you have fuel spill insurance coverage.
- Make sure you have a properly
sized and wearable life jackets in good condition
for each passenger, including kids and pets.