To 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
- 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 secured.
- 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.
- 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 replaced.
- 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 double-clamped.
- 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 for
- Inspect fittings for cracks
and rust. Inspect wire halyards and running backstays for
"fishhooks" and rust.
- Remove tape on turnbuckles and
lubricate threads, preferably with Teflon. Replace old tape with
- Recaulk through-deck
chainplates 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 as
- Test tail and back-up lights.
Test winch to make sure it's working properly.
- 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 properly.
- Inspect dock and anchor lines
- Update or replace old charts,
- Check shore power cable
connections for burns, which indicates the cable needs to be
- Make sure your boating license
and/or registration is up to date. Don't forget your trailer
- 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.