If you’ve been following along on our blog, you know we’ve kicked off the summer with a series on the various steps you need to take to get your boat prepped and ready for the water. We’ve partnered with Chubb Insurance to bring you the tips you need for the best first voyage of your watercraft. Here is the third and final installment in our Coming Out of Lay-up series to help you get your boat in ship shape:
Once the boat is on her mooring or in her slip, check everything before you depart on your first cruise. Start on the foredeck and work your way aft before going below.
Anchors and Mooring Lines
Be sure the anchor and rode are secured properly and ready to use. The “bitter end” of the anchor line must be attached to a strong point inside the boat. All shackle pins must be secured with seizing wire. Replace any mooring lines, fenders and life ring lines that are suffering from chafe or sunlight damage.
If you see cracks in vinyl wire covers, or rust or cracks at end fittings, replace the wire. Be sure pulpits, stanchions and ladders are secure and in good repair, and all setscrews are tight.
Rig Deck Canvas and Check for Leaks
Set up and inspect all of the canvas. Make sure all windows, portlights and hatches are secured, and give the boat a thorough washing. As soon as you’re done, go below and look for leaks.
Don’t forget to look at chainplates on sailboats and make a note of any leaks you find so that they may be repaired.
Check Your Shore Power
Before you plug into shore power, inspect the ends of the cord and the receptacle that’s mounted on the boat for any signs of heat damage.
Plug the boat in, turn on the battery charger and be sure the voltage rises in the batteries. Be sure battery water levels are correct. After dark, make sure the running and anchor lights work.
Engines and Generator Check
Start engines and generators, warm them up thoroughly and change the oil and filters.
While you’re warming up the engines, check the battery voltage. If alternators are working properly, a 12-volt system will charge at close to 14 volts. Also, while engines are running, inspect fuel, cooling and exhaust systems for leaks and correct any leaks you find, no matter how minor.
Check engine mounts and make sure all locknuts are tight. Since you checked the prop and shaft condition prior to launch, any vibration you notice while under way may mean an engine needs aligning. Alignment can’t be checked when the boat is hauled out; the hull will change shape slightly when it’s in the water. It takes experience and special tools to move engines into proper alignment, so this may be a job for your mechanic.
Water Tanks and Heater
If the domestic water and waste systems were winterized, they will need draining and flushing, and any fittings that were disconnected will need to be secured. When the tanks are full, and the system is pressurized, check all the fittings for leaks.
If you have a propane system, open the valve on the tank, turn on the remote solenoid switch if there is one, and light a burner on the stove. Note the reading on the pressure gauge and close the valve on the tank. Wait 10 minutes and look at the gauge again. If there’s any change in the reading, there’s a leak somewhere. Use soapy water to find the leak; never use a flame.
A summer spent out on the water is a summer well spent! We hope this series on boating helps you to navigate the ins and outs of marine craft preparation so that you can enjoy the rest of your summer on your vessel. Contact a Penny Insurance Agent today to discuss your marine recreation protection options. Be safe out on the water and enjoy the waves!