Things to Do Before Taking Your Boat Out This Summer

person undocking boatFew places capture the essence of summer better than New Jersey. The Garden State has everything, from nightlife and excitement to plenty of water to explore, which is great for taking your boat out and feeling the air running through your hair.

If you’ve got a boat, you’re probably as keen as ever to take it out, but before you can, there are a few essentials you must remember. Here is a list of the most important things to do before taking your boat out this summer.

Check Insurance and Coverage

Before leaving the house and taking your boat down to the lake or the ocean, your first duty is to check the insurance and coverage. There are few things more annoying than getting everything ready to set sail, only to discover that you are not covered.

You must renew your boat insurance and registration before you embark on an adventure. While you might consider yourself a qualified and skillful boat owner, it is never worth risking sailing without insurance in case you are involved in an accident or emergency.

Inspect Your Boat

While awaiting your first journey of the summer, you can pass the time by carrying out essential inspections to help prepare your boat for whatever may come while you’re on the water. Carrying out a visual check should give you as much information as you need, and you can make a checklist along the way with notes of anything you notice might demand attention.

If you notice cracks or similar types of damage, get to fixing these issues as soon as possible. Some problems may be quick and simple fixes that you can do yourself, whereas others may require a more experienced hand. Make sure you check every nook and cranny, as this helps minimize the risk of issues while you are boating.

Clean Your Boat

No one wants to spend time in a dirty boat, so take the time to clean it prior to taking it out this year. Consider this your spring cleaning for the boat.

Cleaning your boat can take a long time, and it will require plenty of elbow grease, but it’s worth it. Scrub the deck and the interior with soap before you hose it down. If you identify any mold, use an oxygen-based mold removal product to get rid of it and improve the boat’s hygiene. You can also use a pressure washer to remove gunk, dirt, and more stubborn stains.

Test Everything

It’s important to test your boat’s operating systems to make sure everything is up to snuff, especially if you have not used it since last summer. Common problems can include oil leaks or a sputtering engine, so checking that these are in full working order will give you the confidence that you can enjoy a summer full of fun on the water. It’ll likely ensure you don’t get stranded out at sea as well!

Check the oil and coolant and replenish them if required. It’s also worth patching any holes to protect you and the environment while operating your boat. Finally, your radio and GPS systems should be fully operational, as this will help you in case you get lost.

Put Together Your Emergency Kit

Even though you may be confident that you know how to operate your boat, an emergency kit is still vital. The more prepared you are, the quicker you can overcome any emergencies, repair problems, or provide treatment if you or any of your passengers suffer an injury.

A first-aid kit is crucial, as are extra fuel, batteries, and bulbs. You should also carry evidence of documentation if you get stopped by coast guards. We can not stress your insurance enough!

Also, should you get stranded, distress signals, such as flares and sirens, will make it easier for the coast guard to find you.

Carry Out a Safety Check

Along with your emergency kit, a safety check is also essential before you take your boat out for the first time, regardless of how large your boat is.

Get rid of any potential fire hazards and install fire extinguishers, making sure they are full and secure. You should also carry enough life jackets for every passenger, and these should be worn at all times in case someone goes overboard.

Don’t Forget the Trailer

Many people neglect to check their trailer, especially if they are unfamiliar with proper boating care and maintenance before taking it out. If you are driving your boat from a storage lot, you need to make sure that the tires are full and properly pressurized, while a spare tire will also prevent delays on your first day out.

Raise the trailer and use a jack to make sure the wheels rotate correctly with no friction or noise. It’s also beneficial to check the lights, as you may bring your boat back to the lot after sunset, so you need to be visible to other drivers. It’s not as easy to avoid other vehicles with a boat in tow.

Fun in the Sun

Although we know you just want to take your boat out and forget about the rest of the world for a few hours, failing to carry out thorough checks, maintenance, and renewals can cause disaster for you and your boat.

We want you to avoid many of the common pitfalls that first-time boat owners encounter when they are too eager to get out on the water. Learn more about us and let us ensure you kick off the summer the right way.