Updated June 4, 2020 . AmFam Team
The sun is finally out and the water is calling! As the weather warms up, it’s time to retrieve your boat from winter storage and get it ready for the upcoming boating season. To reduce your chance of wasting precious boating time this season, we’ve put together the ultimate checklist to help you to prepare for your boating adventures.
Before you take your vessel for a spin on the water, it’s important to check off some general boating chores. Here’s how to prevent on-the-water headaches with a little pre-season TLC:
There are several good reasons to ensure your boat’s electronics are working correctly. You don’t want a day of fun in the sun to be ruined by a power failure leaving you stranded out on the water. Here are a few important things to do when inspecting your boat’s electrical systems:
Now it’s time to test your boat’s electrical components. If you find any issues, check the fuse box, wiring and the component itself for problems. Take a look at these appliances and electronics and verify they’re all operating as designed:
Before you put the boat in the water, take a close look at the engine and drivetrain. If you spent some time over the fall last year prepping for winter, this will be a quick check-up. Here’s a list of items to review:
If you encounter trouble on the water, help can be hard to reach. That’s why it’s important to prepare thoroughly for problems so you’re be ready to handle emergencies on your own.
In a waterproof bag, store bottled water, a blanket, extra jackets and hats. Keep flares, flashlights, batteries and a first-aid kit in a separate one, too. Here are a few boat safety and emergency preparedness must-dos:
Over the winter, your boat’s trailer may have also aged. By verifying that the trailer’s operating as designed, it'll be safer to use and it will last longer. Hook your trailer’s electrical harness up to the towing vehicle and verify that the following items are in proper working order.
Some states require that your trailer be inspected every boating season to ensure it’s in good condition and operating safely. Check in with your local DMV and get it inspected if necessary.
And, before you hit the road, check your brakes. When over a certain weight threshold, your trailer may require brakes. Be sure your trailer’s in compliance with the related state and coast guard codes. And knowing how to handle a boat safely on the water is another important way to help ensure you’re ready for the summer fun ahead.
Make sure you check with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) and verify that you’ve got the right coverage for your boat before you hit the water. By being fully prepared for the summer fun ahead, you’ll find it’s easier to relax and enjoy yourself when the water calls.