Spring has finally arrived and many of you will already be getting ready to launch your boats into the coming season! 

You might have a tried and tested regime in how best to prepare your boat after the winter, but for some, who are new to boating perhaps, this may be a first. We’ve put together a few tips for things you don’t want to miss. 

Check your engine 

Diesel engines will usually run and run without giving you any trouble at all, but like all engines, they will need a regular change of oil.

You may think this is a bit of a chore, but if left unchecked this could result in a loss of power or even engine failure which could be catastrophic! 

Outboard servicing is an absolute must; whether this is for your main engine on a Powerboat or RIB, or if you have an outboard for your tender, or as a backup to the main engine in a small yacht, it should be serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Check the standing and running rigging 

If your boat has been stored out of the water during the winter period, you may have had the mast unstepped and the standing and running rigging inspected. 

Before getting back on the water ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Have you checked the condition of bottle screws and other similar hardware? (These could have corroded underneath during the winter period) 
  2. Do the sails need the attention of a sailmaker? 
  3. Do the bolt ropes meet a good standard? 
  4. Has the mainsail headboard been checked? (These can jam) 
  5. Have you serviced the winches? 

Inspect the hull 

Undertake a careful spot check around the hull for any cracks, chips, blisters or scrapes. These will need to be repaired, especially if you know you’re in for a busy season! Ideally you should thoroughly clean and polish the hull anyway. 

If your boat is anti-fouled you will need to check this. If it’s a self-eroding type it may need refurbishing or even replacing completely before heading back into the water. A pressure washer will save you a lot of hard work – we can vouch for this!

Check the safety equipment 

Lifejackets are the most basic but important form of safety equipment for water users. Many people will buy a shiny new life jacket and expect it to perform well in an emergency situation, but unfortunately, these are often stored badly and left unchecked. 

A damp and salty environment is perfect for corrosion to develop so make sure to lightly rinse lifejackets after use (don’t submerge them as this can result in a bit of a bang!) Allow them to dry completely before storing. 

Make sure you also keep an eye on the expiry date of the jacket’s internal cylinder as well as previous service dates as this is key to ensuring the life jacket will do its job! 

Other safety equipment such as life rafts, lifebuoys, man-overboard recovery devices, flares and fire extinguishers should also be checked, serviced or replaced if needed. 

Don’t forget the underwater fittings 

Seacocks and rotating logs are often forgotten about — a classic case of out of sight out of mind. 

Before getting your boat back in the water, you have a great opportunity to check all the underwater fittings to make sure they’re all in working order before submersion again.

This list is by no means comprehensive. You know your boat better than we do and what steps you need to take to keep it, and yourself, safe on the water. 

However, we do hope you’ve found this useful and, as always, please get in touch for any help, advice or repair work! 

Have a great season!