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boat safety blog imageSpring has arrived, and it is once again time to pull the boat out from winter storage and get it ready to launch.  We can never cover all the details of preparing all boats for summer fun. There are just too many types and sizes of boats, and each is at least a little different.  If you’ll be leaving this preparation to the professionals at your marine shop, then it’s time to make those arrangements.  However, if you will be springerizing your own boat, then you will want your own spring checklist based on the specs of your particular vessel.  A good place to start is your boat’s Owner’s Manual where you should be able to find all the details you’ll need.  In general terms, the following are some basic tips to be sure the big items don’t get overlooked.

Check your boat's engine

Depending upon how your boat was stored, it could need a change of oil and oil filter. In fact, even though your vessel might have been winterized, the oil should be checked to assure there is no water.  If you stored your boat without the battery, it is time to reinstall it – being sure the battery is secured in the marine battery box. Remember to also check that the electrical connections are tightened. Lastly, test the battery to be sure it is holding a proper charge.  Many boat owners will typically purchase a new battery every two years. This is a good time to also check all hoses, belts and cables to be sure they are not damaged before going forward.

Inspect your marine equipment

Examine your fire extinguishers to be sure they are not only fully-charged but are the right class for your vessel and are properly stowed on board.  See that your handheld VHF radio is fully charged. Be sure that you have fresh, tested batteries in your sound signaling devices. Also check your pyrotechnic distress signals and be sure that they have not expired.  Examine the contents of your first aid kit and replenish the contents as needed so that it is fully stocked.  Then take a close look at your life jackets (PFDs) and be sure that you have one for each person who will be on board.  Examine the flotation devices to be sure they are not damaged, and if you will have some worn by growing children, you’ll need to be sure that they still fit.

Registration, Permits, etc.

Review all necessary requirements, and be sure that your registration and permits are valid and up to date and any stickers are replaced if necessary before launching.

Interior and Exterior Maintenance

It’s likely that you did a complete cleaning and waxing of your boat before winter set in; but if not, you should do it now.  You will also want to inspect the hull before launch.  You might find that the interior and the windows need a fresh cleaning at this time. 

Check out your trailer

Don’t overlook your trailer! Test the lights and examine the electrical connections.  Examine the tires for damage and check the pressure.  Measure the brake fluid level.  Be sure the wheel bearings and trainer jack are lubricated, and check out the tongue lock and safety chains as well. 

Use Your Resources

To be sure, this is not an exhaustive checklist. You’ll create your own list using your Owner’s Manual and advice from experts as needed so that you have a place to start.  You may also want to take advantage of any safety inspections offered by the US Coast Guard, Auxiliary, US Power Squadrons and other reputable source of information and training for boat owners.

Boat Insurance Tip

Before to set out on the water, you’ll want to be sure that you and your boat are insured properly and full.  So take some time to sit down with your insurance agent to explore your coverage options. 

Here at our Laurel, MD agency, our highly experienced Community Insurance Services of Maryland agents are always glad to speak with you about any insurance needs. Before you launch your vessel this summer, why not contact us to be sure you have optimum boat insurance coverage, get a no-obligation policy review or discuss your options?

Wednesday, 04 April 2018 14:12

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