Start of the boating season 2017 for those of us who experience a winter! A lot of us are waiting for the nicer weather to show up! Record rainfalls, lots of flooding and swollen riverbanks has delayed some of us from safely accessing launches. The nicer weather is coming soon so take this time to get ready!!!
Whether you’re a seasonal boater down south or from the north, it’s always a good idea to have your motor properly serviced by a qualified dealer and a licensed mechanic. If your boat’s been stored for a period of time, this would involve the first start up, blowing out the fogging oil from last fall’s winterization or storage, making sure all hoses and lines are in good shape (no cracks or leaks), oil has to been changed if you have a 4 stroke or oil levels are full for a 2 stroke. Gear case oil needs to be checked and changed. Changing the spark plugs is always a good idea (at least every 2 seasons) and make sure the engine has proper cooling by changing your impeller every couple of seasons. Your qualified mechanic will ask you all the right questions and help to ensure your boat and motor are running right for the first trip out and for the whole season. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, there is plenty of information on the web and lots of instructional videos on YouTube to show you how to maintain your boat and motor. Make sure you have good clean gas for the initial startup. Fill up your tank so that you are not just running last year’s gas through your motor.
On a regular basis, you should check your trailer and lights particularly after your trailer has been sitting for a while or stored for the winter. Make sure brakes lights, turn signals and running lights all work. Lubricate the wheel bearings on the trailer. Most trailers have bearing buddies that can be easily greased or you may want to consider repacking the wheel bearings. It is also extremely important to ensure your tires are inflated properly and that they do not show signs of excessive wear. Check the requirements stamped on the side of the tire as to proper inflation pressure.
Also check your safety gear on board! We should have all taken some sort of boating safety course. There is a Coast Guard guide which lists all the safety gear that you should have on board. This includes the following but you should check the Coast Guard requirements before you head out on the water:
• Good strong paddle
• Sound/signaling device
• Anchor with sufficient rope, 50 ft. minimum
• Lifejackets for everyone on board
• A throw safety cushion and floating rope
• Boat fenders/bumpers and dock tie lines
• Bailer and/or operating bilge pump
• Waterproof flashlight with good batteries
• A spare prop and tools to change it!
CHECK THE COAST GUARD REQUIREMENTS
Check the condition of your propeller. The propeller blades should not be bent or damaged as a damaged blade will affect performance and efficiency of the propeller. Make sure the leading edges of the blades are smooth and not badly chipped.
Remember that when water levels are high in the spring a lot of debris gets dragged off the shore so be careful out there and keep your eyes open to avoid any costly strikes with floating debris.
Have a safe and fun filled boating season this year!
From the Ace Propeller Team!