Your spring boat-safety checklist is a crucial part of getting ready for warm weather and the good times out on the water that come with it. Now that winter is over, getting your boat ready before the summer ensures you have the minimum number of headaches to deal with when you’d rather just enjoy your time with friends and family. It’s also an excellent way to get a head start on any maintenance that might be required to get the ball rolling this season.
Check out these five spring boat-safety checklist essentials that will get you set up for a summer at the tiller.
1. Basic Safety Gear
It’s a given that your boat-safety checklist includes life jackets for your entire crew, but there’s more to it than just flotation devices. Stock your boat with a loud horn for signaling emergencies, a box of flares, a fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit and a flashlight. Those items should see you through most situations you’re likely to encounter on the water.
2. Lighting System
No matter how many lights your boat has, springtime means inspecting each bulb to make sure it works and that it’s bright enough for summer duty. This includes internal and external lights, as well as any spotlights you might have installed.
3. Back-Up Plan
Things can break in the middle of an afternoon, and you don’t want to be left stranded because of a fouled spark plug or low engine oil. Spare oil, coolant, spark plugs and light bulbs should be stowed somewhere on board.
4. Check the Bilge
Your boat-safety checklist needs to cover inspecting your boat’s bilge pump, if it’s so equipped. Start it up and make sure it’s running properly. Then listen for any irregular noises and notice any unusual smells that could indicate the machinery is wearing out.
5. Verify Fluid Levels, Hoses and Wiring
Basic maintenance is also an important factor on your boat-safety checklist every spring. Topping off fluids such as coolant, fuel and gas is a must. Additionally, take the time to inspect any rubber lines for signs of rot or tearing before you set out on your maiden voyage. Finally, your boat’s wiring also deserves a once-over to spot shorts, bad fuses or potential trouble spots.
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Photo courtesy of Morguefile.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.