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VOL. 12 NO. 4
Take a class

Before you launch

Spring commissioning tips for your boat

Before you launch

Before you launch your boat this spring, you should:

  1. Inspect hose clamps and replace as necessary. Use marine-rated stainless clamps to double-clamp below-waterline connections, including all hose and fuel lines.
  2. Inspect cooling hoses for stiffness, rot, leaks and cracking. Make sure they fit snugly.
  3. Replace deteriorated sacrificial anodes.
  4. Inspect props for dings, pitting and distortion. Make sure cotter pins are secure. Grip the prop and try moving the shaft; if it’s loose, the cutless bearing (on inboard drive systems) may need to be replaced.
  5. Check the rudderstock to ensure it hasn’t been bent.
  6. Inspect the hull for blisters, distortions and stress cracks.
  7. Make sure your engine intake sea strainer isn’t cracked or bent from ice, and is free of corrosion, clean, and properly secured.
  8. For inboards, check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for looseness. A stuffing box should only leak when the prop shaft is turning and needs to be inspected routinely.
  9. Inspect and lubricate seacocks.
  10. Use a garden hose to check for deck leaks at ports and hatches. Renew caulk or gaskets as necessary.
  11. Inspect the bilge pump and float switch to make sure they’re working properly.
  12. Check the stove and remote tanks for loose fittings and leaking hoses.
  13. Inspect dock and anchor lines for chafing.
  14. If equipped with a stern drain plug, ensure that it is installed.
  15. Once you launch the boat, be sure to check all thru-hulls for leaks.
These are only a few of the steps you should take to prepare your boat for a safe boating season. To see a comprehensive checklist, click here.
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