BoatU.S. Spring Commissioning Safety Checklist

An easy way to get ready for the season

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ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 24, 2009 — Whether you have a power or sailboat, inboard or outboard, this Spring Commissioning Safety Checklist from BoatU.S. is an easy way to get ready for the season:

BEFORE YOU LAUNCH:

• Inspect and lubricate seacocks. Hoses and hose clamps should be inspected and replaced as necessary.

• Replace deteriorated anodes.

• Inspect prop(s) for dings, pitting and distortion. Make sure cotter pins are secure. Grip the prop and try moving the shaft – if it’s loose, the cutlass bearing may need to be replaced.

• Check to make sure the rudderstock hasn’t been bent.

• Inspect the hull for blisters, distortions and stress cracks.

• Make sure your engine intake sea strainer is free of corrosion, clean and properly secured.

• Check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for looseness. After the boat is launched, be sure to check all through-hulls for leaks.

• Use a hose to check for deck leaks at ports and hatches. Renew caulk or gaskets as necessary.

• If equipped, ensure that the stern drain plug is installed.

OUTDRIVES and OUTBOARDS:

• Inspect rubber outdrive bellows for cracked, dried and/or deteriorated spots (look especially in the folds), and replace if suspect.

• Check power steering and power trim oil levels.

• Replace anodes that are more than half worn away.

• Inspect outer jacket of control cables. Cracks or swelling indicate corrosion and mean that the cable must be replaced.

ENGINES AND FUEL SYSTEMS:

• Inspect fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or cracking. Check all joints for leaks and make sure all lines are well supported with non-combustible clips or straps with smooth edges.

• Inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Clamps should be snug and free of rust. Clean or replace fuel filters. Owners of gasoline-powered boats with fiberglass fuel tanks should consult a marine professional to inspect for any ethanol related issues.

• Inspect cooling hoses for stiffness, rot, leaks and/or cracking. Make sure they fit snugly and are double-clamped.

• Every few years, remove and inspect exhaust manifold for corrosion.

• Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables. Wire-brush battery terminals and fill cells with distilled water (if applicable).

• Inspect bilge blower hose for leaks.

SAILBOAT RIGGING:

• Inspect swage fittings for cracks and heavy rust (some discoloration is acceptable). Inspect wire halyards and running backstays for “fishhooks” and rust.

• Remove tape on turnbuckles and lubricate threads, preferably with Teflon. Replace old tape with fresh tape.

• Recaulk through-deck chainplates as necessary (generally, once a decade). If you suspect the core around the chainplate is damp, remove the chainplate to inspect and make repairs.

TRAILERS:

• Inspect tire treads and sidewalls for cracks or lack of tread and replace as necessary. Check air pressure. Don’t forget the spare!

• Inspect wheel bearings and repack as necessary.

• Test tail and back-up lights and winch to make sure they’re working properly. Inspect hitch chains.

• Inspect trailer frame for rust. Sand and paint to prevent further deterioration.

• Inspect brakes and brake fluid reservoir.

MISCELLANEOUS:

• Check expiration dates on flares and fire extinguishers.

• Check stove and remote tanks for loose fittings and leaking hoses.

• Inspect bilge pump and float switch to make sure they’re working properly.

• Inspect dock and anchor lines for chafing.

• Update or replace old charts, waterway guides.

• Check shore power cable connections for burns, which indicates the cable and/or the shore power inlet must be replaced.

• Make sure your boating license and/or registration is up to date. Don’t forget your trailer tags.

• Review your boat insurance policy and update coverage if needed. Be sure you have fuel spill insurance coverage.

• Make sure you have a properly sized and wearable life jackets in good condition for each passenger, including kids.

• Test smoke, carbon monoxide, fume and bilge alarms.

• Be sure to get a free vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons. Find out how at Safetyseal.net .

A free Spring Safety Pre-launch Checklist is available online at BoatUS.com/freebies/springlist.htm.