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Spring Commissioning

Whether you haul out for the winter or are lucky enough to live in a climate with year-round access to water, spring is the ideal time for tuning, toning, tightening and brightening to assure trouble-free boating in the peak season soon upon us. Here is a check-list you can use as a guide to get your boat ready for the season.

General Boat Items:

  • Fiberglass and gel coat repairs
  • Wash and polish
  • Bottom paint
  • Zincs
  • Loose screws (esp. rails)
  • Bright work
  • Electrical circuits, bulbs
  • Fuel tanks filled
  • Life saving equipment
  • Canvas tops, curtains
  • Fenders and dock lines
  • Mooring
  • Registration #s and current sticker
  • Outer drain plug
  • Inner drain plug
  • Owner’s manual
  • Keys

Engine Items – Outboards, Inboards, and I/Os

Here are some other things you should check in your engine, unless they were part of your list when winterizing:

  • Tune up or overhaul
  • Oil
  • Transmission
  • Test run
  • Compression, spark
  • Carburetor (signs of varnish?)
  • Clean battery case/ terminals/cable ends
  • Add distilled battery water; apply corrosion inhibitor terminals
  • Battery clamp or strap
  • Flange nuts, not wing nuts, on cables
  • Change spark plugs
  • Thermostats
  • Pressure relief valve
  • Secondary fuel filter
  • Replace water separator
  • Clean/lube starter
  • Oil tanks (water, dirt, filters)
  • Bleed oil injection system
  • Lube (dirt or water)
  • Water pump
  • Seals on prop shaft and under pump
  • Prop: repair/balance as needed
  • Top off gear lube, check washers
  • Shift shaft
  • Paint

Mechanical Items

  • Dash gauges
  • Fuel gauges
  • Blower
  • Water pump
  • Controls
  • Steering
  • Bilge pump (auto and manual)
  • Power tilt
  • Hoses/clamps
  • All belts
  • All thru hulls
  • Battery installed charged
  • Lights
  • Horn
  • Wipers
  • Compass
  • Fire extinguisher installed charged
  • Radio
  • Fathometer 

For more boat maintenance tips and “how to” advice, visit the Boat Maintenance & Repair section of the ABA website.

A final word of caution, whether you use a mechanic to do your spring commissioning or you do it yourself, make sure your drain plugs are in place before launching!