Boating is a popular pastime, but one that does require some care and planning. In Florida, many boat owners store their vessels for a number of months during the off season while away to summer homes out of state. That means that fall is one of the busiest times as winter residents return and put their boats back in the water. Before you take your boat out on the water – whether in the fall or at any other time of year – make sure to go through some vital pre-launch checks to ensure you’re ready for boating season.
Inspecting the hull, deck and outside surfaces is a good place to start when getting a boat ready for boating season. Any problems that are found in this inspection should be repaired as soon as possible to avoid further damage in the future.
The boat trailer should be inspected as well, if your boat is trailered. Inspect tires, brakes, lights and any other equipment on the trailer. It is also a good idea to have the bearings greased before the boating season.
Before taking your boat out, it’s important to be sure that all of your legal paperwork is in order. This includes making sure that your registration is up to date and valid for the year. This includes displaying your registration decal on the port side and keeping your registration certificate on board in case requested by an officer. You should also keep any insurance information with your registration so that it is available in case of an accident.
The last thing you want is to find yourself adrift due to a mechanical failure, which is why engine maintenance is important. A few of the routine maintenance steps you should take ahead the boating season include changing the oil, checking for moisture in the fuel, inspecting fuel lines, checking the battery and inspecting belts and hoses. Don’t forget to check out the cooling system and water pump, as well, to make sure that there are no issues with overheating. You may even consider preventatively replacing components if they have been used for several years or are showing any starting symptoms of failure.
Safety equipment is too important to overlook, and the start of boating season is a perfect time to perform a complete safety inventory. Make sure that you have adequate life jackets on board, as well as extra flotation devices like boat cushions and other equipment that can help provide extra buoyancy in an emergency. Fire extinguishers and emergency flares should also be aboard, but be sure to inspect them annually to be sure they are in good condition.
Triangle Marine Center is your source for boat parts and service during the fall months an all year long. Whether you like to maintain your boat by yourself or prefer to have it professionally maintained, we have you covered. We have been serving Lake County and the central Florida region for more than 40 years, and are a recognized leader in the boating community. If you find you need some extra parts or need professional service as you get your boat ready for the year, give our team a call today at 352-343-6146 to schedule a service appointment or to order parts.