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Spring is the time our thoughts turn to boating. Plans for fishing trips, cruises and family outings are made. What better time to give the boat a good check over and replace or repair questionable items.

Check for cracks or soft areas in the transom; these signs can lead to major problems. Check seating fixtures for loose fittings or deteriorated bases. Check steering cables and connections as well as fluid levels. If there are stiff or sticky spots in the steering, making corrections prior to operating the boat could avoid major problems.

Check I/O’s around the transom boot; if cracks are detected, replace it. It can prevent the vessel from flooding or sinking at dockside or while underway.

Check fittings: bow eyes, cleats and chocks. Stanchions and rails can work loose; these fittings are easier to tighten or replace while preparing for the boating season. A close inspection may reveal cracks around the base of a fitting and indicate the need for backing to avoid it pulling through the hull when under a heavy strain.

Pre-season examination is a good time to change fuel filters and water separators. Doing so may prevent a loss of power at sea. When checking fuel lines, look closely to be sure they are not rubbing or flexing to the point of possible fracture. In the case of rubber fuel lines, look for cracking from drying out.

Wiring is a smart pre-season thing to check. Electronics may have been added with poor splices or cheap connectors. Failure of equipment, draining of the battery or even a fire may be the result. The recommended splice is a solid connection such as one soldered and sealed with shrink-wrap.

Look for mold in closed areas, lube hinges and clean window tracks. Canvas enclosures or covers have fasteners — usually snap-type. Lubricating the inside of the snap can save the material from tearing or pulling the fitting loose. Checking around windshields, windows and hatches may reveal a need to clean or replace seals.

Each boat owner should develop a pre-season checklist tailored to the vessel. This list has only scratched the surface. Let’s all remember when boating we want to avoid “Murphy’s Law,” “Anything that can go wrong – will!”

United Marine Underwriters is more than just boat insurance. Browse our Boats For Sale at BoatBrowser or our Lake Resource Guide at LakeBrowser 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 Pre-Season Checklist

  1. Accurate Insurance & Financial Services says:

    I think it is a great idea for all boaters to create a checklist. This was you eliminate any surprises that can occur. You missed one thing from the checklist…Check you have good insurance coverage! If something does go wrong with the boat, you should know if you are covered or not.

  2. Keep up the good work. I just read your comments on Rule 2(b) and appreciated that there was a rule for what I always believed. By the way you refer to “Murphy’s Law” on your “Pre-Season Checklist” and I like to offer that there is a more stricker rule called “O’Toole’s Law”. This law says Murphy was an optimists.

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