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Boat owners clean up their pride and joy in the spring with a good wax job and shiny rails. They use a lot of energy making her look as good as new, but they might overlook items of importance that are not visible.

A complete check of your engine area should be made. Hook up water to your intake and run the engine to see that all pulleys are running freely and the water pump is operating properly. Belts need to be checked for cracks or rot and replaced. Fuel lines develop wear from vibration and will show cracks. Rubber inlet and circulation hoses will have soft spots, as well as cracks, and all should be double clamped. Check closely around the clamps for any cuts.

Check wiring and fuse connectors or holders for corrosion and proper contact. Check bulbs on running and deck lights; always carry spares. Check fluid levels for engine and transmission, as well as steering and power trim or tilt.

Outboards should be checked for steering and power tilt fluids if so equipped. I/O’s have rubber boots around the stern drive that will crack and rot. Inboards and some I/O’s have exhaust outlets that will also crack or develop corrosion. Check to be sure there are no bird nests inside your muffler.

Check your propeller. If chipped or dinged, repair it because a slight balance change can cause severe damage.

Make sure your tools are in good condition and nothing is missing. Check your spare parts supply: extra belts, spark plugs, bulbs and fuses. Review your first aid kit to be sure you have all items you might need in an emergency.

Safety equipment exams are critical. Life jackets should be checked for sunburn, tears, poor stitching or air leak packs. Inflatable styles should have extra cylinders. Look at your fire extinguishers and flare kits; note expiration dates on flares.

If you trailer your boat, check the trailer lights, wiring, tires, wheel bearings, hitch and coupler to be sure your trip to the launch is not interrupted.

It’s a good idea to make a complete checklist for launch. You probably have many other items on your check list. Use the comments to let us know what we missed.

United Marine Underwriters is more than just boat insurance. Browse our Boats For Sale at Boat Browser or our Lake Resource Guide at Lake Browser or share your fishing stories and photos at True Fish Tales – the ones that did not get away.

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2 Responses to Launch Preparation

  1. This is great advice, Randy — particularly about making a checklist. We’re all a little rusty the first few times out each spring; and the list can prevent some embarrassing (and potentially dangerous) problems with launching and cruising around.

  2. philip says:

    yes in melbourne area

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