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After many months of waiting, Spring has finally arrived! While you are probably eager to get your boat back in the water (We certainly are!), the work has only just begun. To ensure “smooth sailing,” there are several trouble spots you may want to check on your boat before it is ready to launch. Not only do you want your boat to look great, but also run great. Here are several “trouble spots” many people encounter when bringing their watercraft out of storage:

  • Test Bilge Pump – While you may have already cleaned your bilge pump prior to storing your boat, this does not guarantee that your bilge pump is completely free of water. Even the smallest leak or even condensation can cause puddles that cover your bilge pump or the pump’s float switch. While this is normally nothing to worry about, this can occasionally lead to freeze damage. Before launching your boat, test your bilge pump and check that no repairs are necessary.
  • Check For Fuel Condensation – Even if your boat’s fuel tank was filled and treated with a fuel stabilizer prior to winter storage, it is still possible that condensation can cause water absorption and phase separation of fuel. Prior to launching, drain your boat’s fuel/water separator to ensure that your tank is completely free of water. If your boat runs on diesel fuel, pump some of your fuel into a bottle of water to test it. If water is in your fuel, it should show separation in about an hour. If this is the case, it is actually possible to get your fuel filtered through your boatyard.
  • Inspect Lower-Unit – Any amount of water inside your boat can cause freeze damage which leads to several different types of mechanical problems. Inspect your boat’s undercarriage and engine for any cracks or popped seals. If you notice any issues, take your boat to a nautical mechanic. Freeze damage can also cause damage to your hoses. Give these a visual inspection and check for any unexpected moves by pulling and twisted your hoses.
  • Prevent Drain Clogs – Clogged scrubbers and deck drains can lead to very dangerous situations when boating. Along with the usual debris such as leaves and twigs, wasps like to build nests in this areas. Wash out your drains and scrubbers with a hose to make sure they are properly functioning.
  • Check Emergency Supplies– Nobody wants to be stuck with a broken boat and no way to call for help. Run a check of your VHF radio to make sure it is working properly. Inspect your antennae since plastic VHF mounts can become brittle in the cold. Take a look at your emergency flares as well. The S. Coast Guard actually gives citations if you are caught with expired flares. Be sure to replace your flares once every 42 months.
  • Other Preparations – Check your battery to make sure that it is charged. Replace fluids such as oil, fuel and lubrication as needed. Also be sure that your boat is properly cleaned prior to launch. Clean and defog your windows and see that your hull and deck are properly washed and waxed. You may want to consult with a professional boat detailing company prior to launch.

While there is a lot of preparation that goes into launching a boat, you do not need to do it alone. GK’s Custom Polishing, Inc. is your Cleveland headquarters for boat & jet ski detailing, storage and transporting. Our staff will work with you to make your boat launch as easy and efficient as possible. Give us a call at (440) 937-4457 or send us an email for more information.