Preparing for the summer boating season can be a daunting task. There seems to be so much work to do to get the boat ready, and everything I finish either uncovers or leads to something else I didn’t plan on. And no matter what, cleaning, painting, repairing, all seem to lead back to cleaning.
There are plenty of things to think about before launching, but the most important is seaworthiness. No matter how pretty the boat is when it gets wet, it still has to float. Before the boat is turned loose from the trailer or lift, spend some time with your head in the bilge.
There are so many things that can sink a boat, some obvious and some not. Loose or broken hose clamps on engine hoses can pour gallons of water in to the bilge and go unnoticed. Leaking seacocks can send a boat to the bottom overnight. Through hull fittings can also crack or loosen and allow water in, especially if they are close to the waterline. Check for leaks before the boat is left unattended, especially if you live far away from it.
Spring snow or rain storms can also sink a boat if the batteries or bilge pump can’t keep up with the demands placed on them. Bilge pumps need to be checked carefully for proper operation, and their abilities actually verified. Just because a pump makes noise doesn’t mean it will remove water from the bilge, to be absolutely sure you can count on it run a hose in to the boat and test it for yourself.
There is nothing worse than that sinking feeling you get from a call coming from your marina, but you can take the steps necessary to make sure they are always about upcoming events and not high water alarms. Take a minute to ensure your boating season will get off to a problem free start, take the time to look and listen for leaks.
See you on the water…