Boat Insurance Magazine

How To Prepare Your Boat For The First Trip Of The Season

  • Before taking your boat out for the first time in a new season, it is important to ensure you have made all precautionary checks.
  • Failing to do so could result in an accident or damage to your vessel.
  • De-winterising your boat will not take too long and can reduce the risks involved with sailing, and is important after you followed the precautions in the winter season.
  • The process may be tedious, but it is worthwhile as maintaining a boat should always be seen as an ongoing process.


Check The Battery

It is always crucial to check the battery of your boat before setting out on a journey. Typically, the battery should last around 4/5 years. In order to refresh it, it should be refilled with distilled water before you check the charge.

There is a chance that the battery was stored indoors for the winter season. If so, it should still be in good condition, especially if you used a trickle charger.

You should also remove any wires from the charge posts and clean them thoroughly, with a small wire brush, before coating them in grease. This measure should protect them from erosion.


Test All Electrics

The boats electrics should be fine after the winter season, but it is always important to double check. Test all electrical equipment on board by flipping all switches, whether they are frequently used or not.

In addition to this, turn off the battery once you have checked it is fully functioning and see if the automatic bilge pump float switch works properly.


Fill The Cooling System

Before storing the boat from the winter, it is typical to empty the cooling system. In the spring, it must be refilled with water and antifreeze in equal measures.

If the mixture has been left in throughout the winter, this is the time to empty it and replace the liquid. There should be no visible leakage.




Double Check Your Safety Equipment

This step can be one of the most crucial and simultaneously forgotten about easily. It is important to check the condition of all safety equipment onboard and ensure it is stored securely yet with easy access in case of an emergency.

There should be sufficient flotation devices onboard as well as fire extinguishers. You should also take this opportunity to double check your insurance remains valid and that you know where the papers are in case you need to contact your insurers.


Change The Engine Oil

Changing the engine oil is essential after the winter season. The oil levels should be correct, however even if the oil was not drained before the winter season, it is safest to replace it afterwards.

The outdrive oil should also be replaced during this time.


Check The Gas Tank And Fuel Lines

During the winter, the gas tank and fuel lines are always at risk of developing rust in the cooler temperatures. If you filled the tank before you stored it, the moisture should not have settled over the winter season.

In spite of this, the fuel lines could still crack as the temperatures drop, so ensure they are not rusty and replace them if you need to do so.


Start Your Motors!

The final check should be the motors. Usually, these remain in perfect condition over the winter, especially if they are properly cared for, however it is important to double check them before heading out onto the water.