Winter boat checks get your boat ready for spring
In the winter, I visit my boat or have a friend “put an eyeball on it” regularly. During these winter boat checks, I make sure the jack stands are tight, the tarp is still on and, if necessary, use a plastic shovel to clear snow from the partially covered cockpit.
Every few weeks, I go below to look things over and crank the engine a couple of revolutions. This keeps the engine’s moving parts lubricated and the water pump impeller from being squashed in one spot the whole winter. While below, I refresh my memory about the things I observed at haul-out that need taken care of before the next boating season.
Winter is a great time to deal with items that need repair or other servicing (like replacing the EPIRB battery). You can get better and quicker service now than in June. Sailmakers and repair technicians will soon be busy as more people think about spring commissioning. Marine suppliers will start sending out catalogs and spring sale fliers. Take the time now to start planning your repairs, replacements and new gear additions; you can take advantage of early season deals and be ready for spring launch.
Now’s a great time to get some better life jackets you might actually wear. If you don’t already have them, consider adding a carbon monoxide detector in your cabin and a DSC VHF radio to your nav station.
Don’t forget your compass. If it has an air bubble in the dome or the dampening fluid is all gone, fix it now. A good compass isn’t cheap, so if yours needs help, think about repairing it.
And while you’ve got some downtime, tune up your boating skills; take an America’s Boating Club course or seminar. –Brian Nelson
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