May is the month when the entire coastline from Connecticut to Maine starts to awaken after a long winter’s rest. The quaint seaside villages slowly become busy with visitors from both summer residents and day trippers alike. The true telltale sign that summer is near is when the marinas become crazy busy with the unveiling of boats from winter storage and slips quickly fill back to capacity. When this starts to happen, it’s a good time as any for you to start your Commissioning Checklist for your watercraft.
The following checklist was provided by Brewers Yacht Yards and consists of tips and recommendations to be used as a starting point to get any boat ready for a safe and enjoyable season out on the water.
- Documents: Review your license, registration, insurance and other important documents pertaining to your boat and trailer and store them in a watertight bag or container. When reviewing your insurance coverage, contact your agent and ask if you are realizing all the available savings, if your coverage is comprehensive and for them to double-check that the geographic limits on your policy align with your boating plans for the season.
- Life jackets: Each and every person on board must have a properly sized life jacket in good condition with no rips or missing parts.
- Fire extinguishers: Check all onboard fire extinguishers making sure they are fully charged and properly mounted and are the correct class for your vessel. Turn dry chemical extinguishers upside down to loosen the powder. Replace or refill any expired units.
- Flares: Replace out-of-date flares and keep the old ones on board as spares.
- Charts and maps: Review and update electronics as necessary.
- Plugs: Inspect and tighten drain plugs. Make sure rubber seals or gaskets haven’t cracked or dried out during winter storage.
- Hoses and clamps: Inspect and replace as necessary.
- Propellers: Inspect for dings, pitting, cracks and distortion. Damaged props can cause unwanted vibration and drive train damage. Make sure connectors such as cotter pins are secure, and grip the prop to check for looseness. If the shaft is loose, consider replacing the bearing.
- Inboards: Examine the rudderstock to ensure it has not been bent or compromised.
- Hull: Inspect for blisters, distortions, cracks and compromised rivets.
- Water intake strainer: Make sure your strainer is secure, unobstructed and corrosion free.
- Large inboards: Check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for looseness before and after launch. Make sure through-hulls don’t leak.
- Outboards and outdrives: Inspect outdrive bellows for cracks, dryness or deterioration, paying careful attention to the folds. Replace questionable bellows.
- Fluid levels: Check all fluid levels, including engine oil, power steering and power trim reservoirs. Replace worn-out zincs.
- Control cables: Inspect the outer jackets and replace cables showing cracks, swelling, corrosion or deterioration.
- Fuel lines: Inspect fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or cracking.
- Fuel tanks: Check your tanks and pumps and replace filters annually. Consider using a fuel stabilizer.
- Hoses: Inspect cooling, exhaust and blower hoses and pipes for stiffness, rot and leaks. Make sure hoses are connected tightly; double clamp them if necessary.
- Electrical connections: Inspect for cleanliness and tightness. Corrosion, especially on battery cables, could indicate a poor connection. Remove the terminals, and wire-brush them along with the cable ends.
- Running and navigation lights: Make sure all running lights work. Keep spare navigation bulbs on board.
- Emergency lights: Inspect emergency lights and signal devices and make sure you have spare batteries.
- Ignition kill switch: Ensure it’s working properly
- Bilge pumps: Check for leaks and corrosion and make sure the float switch works.
- Ropes and lines: Inspect for damage, chafing and deterioration and replace as necessary. Pay out and thoroughly inspect your anchor line. Keep lines untangled and coiled for ease of use.
Have a safe and worry-free boating season!
Here at Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency our goal is to try to help our viewers by suggesting solutions for all insurance needs. By no means can we address each reader’s specific concerns in every incident. So, we strongly advise to check with an insurance representative to address your specific needs. However, you can also contact us for any questions or concerns and we will be happy to help you. We are able to offer a complete line of personal & commercial insurance products for all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
Come visit us at www.donmedeirosinsurance.com or give us a call at 508-678-1271. We look forward to hearing from you! If you have a Facebook account, fan us at http://www.facebook.com/donmedeiros.Filed Under: Watercrafts - Tips & Important Facts | Tagged With: boat insurance, insurance, insurance coverage, marina, marine insurance