Getting Your Boat Out of Storage and Into the Water

Posted by Safeco April 20, 2015

Boat Maintenance Tips for Spring

Spring Boating

Spring is here, and you’re ready to get out on the water. But, is your boat ready?

Even if you’ve kept it properly stored for the winter and protected from the elements, there are still a number of things you need to do before hitting your local lakes and rivers.

While much of your focus will be on the boat itself, don’t forget other important things, such as your trailer, your vessel registration and, of course, your watercraft insurance coverage. Your local independent agent can help you with that.

As for the boat and trailer, check out these tips from Discover Boating, which provides boating information and public outreach on behalf of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Engine and Electric

Your boat’s been sitting for a few months, so it’s not ready to zip across the water just yet. Here are a few things to check before firing up the ignition:

  • Make sure fuel hoses are not soft, brittle or cracked and check the system for leaks or damage. Also verify that fittings and clamps are secure.
  • Check all other belts, hoses and cables as well. Replace if needed.
  • Inspect electrical connections for corrosion and verify your battery is holding a charge.
  • Check all fluid levels and change/top off as needed.
  • Test for proper ventilation.

Propellers and Hulls

Damage to your propeller or hull can make for an unpleasant day on the water. Here are some things to look for:

  • Propellers that have dings or distortion. This can lead to not only an unpleasant ride but can also damage your drive train. While securing your propeller, check that the bearings are not worn out.
  • Hulls with blisters or cracks. Cleaning the hull (use an environmentally safe solution) gives you a good opportunity to check for damage. While you’re at in, clean above deck, too.


You should treat your trailer with as much care as your boat. After all, you can’t go boating if you can’t get your boat to the water.

  • Inspect the grease fittings on the hubs and reapply grease as needed.
  • Test the lights on your trailer each time before you get out on the road.
  • Rinse thoroughly after exposure to salt water.
  • In case of tire trouble, ensure your vehicle's jack will work to lift the trailer and that you will be able to loosen and tighten the wheel lug nuts.
  • Look over the trailer bunks once your boat is in the water to ensure the padding isn’t worn.

Safety Equipment

No matter how well your boat runs, you should never run it without the proper safety equipment. So take inventory of what’s onboard to be sure you have:

  • Enough life jackets for all potential passengers. Make sure they’re in good condition, too.
  • Fire extinguisher. Be sure it’s the correct classification for your boat and is in working order.
  • Emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) so you can be found if you get lost.
  • Carbon-monoxide detector, if there’s an enclosed area on your boat.
  • Working navigation lights.

Proper preparation can mean the difference between a great day on the boat and a disastrous one. So take a little time to make this boating season a happy and safe one. Hope to see you out on the water!


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Topics: Boating

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