For more than 17 million boat owners the warm days of spring are devoted to getting prepared for a fun season of boating.
Experts from West Marine's "West Advisor" have provided tips to boaters for more than a decade and now they are offering free guides to help get boats in ship-shape for the summer season. "Your Guide to Spring Boat Prep" pamphlets are now available in all West Marine stores, while supplies last.
"Don't underestimate the damage winter weather and storage can cause to boats. When it comes to spring commissioning, we're excited to offer simple solutions and a broad selection of products for boaters," explains West Advisor, Chuck Hawley, West Marine.
Hawley offers this checklist to assist boaters in getting boats ready for the water.
1. Inspect powertrain, water, electrical, waste systems and trailer for wear or damage.
2. Change oil, replace fuel filter/water separator.
3. Start engine. Use a correct-sized flusher on I/Os. Inboard: put cooling intake hose in a bucket of water so you don't overheat.
4. Don't forget to put the transom or garboard drain plug in. Many a first time launch has ended by "sinking" right off the ramp!
5. Pump bilge. Add bilge cleaner to take care of residues. Pump bilge dry, capturing waste and disposing of it in an environmentally safe way.
6. Check electrical connections for corrosion.
7. Reconnect electronics and antennas; test for problems.
8. Check cabin, cockpit and nav lights; replace bad bulbs and stow spares.
9. Give your trailer a thorough visual inspection; check all hardware, rollers, bunks and tires for cracking and/or wear.
10. Test trailer lights and replace any burned out bulbs or faulty wiring.
Preventative & Cosmetic Maintenance
1. Protect your vessel with the appropriate bottom paint for your type of boating and climate. 2. Pick paint that has previously been applied to your boat's bottom.
1. Have the right amount of product to apply the necessary coats.
2. Pick a time when you will have good weather to complete all applications.
3. Make sure you have the right safety gear including respirators and eye protection and always cover exposed skin.
1. For most bottom paint applications rolling works best.
2. Thoroughly stir paint and roll it evenly from one end of the boat to the other.
3. There is a window of 3 hours to 2 weeks between coats.
1. Perform a complete inspection of all safety gear.
2. Check PFDs; stock onboard to cover guests and children.
3. Keep flares current and check expiration dates.
4. Check fire extinguishers to ensure each is full and easily accessible.
5. Check communication gear and be sure your crew knows how to operate.
West Marine customers who purchase any Bottom Paint and the Seafit 7-Piece Combo Roller Set will receive a complementary Spring Boat Prep DVD.
Free guides on "Spring Boat Preparation" are available, no purchase necessary, at any West Marine store, while supplies last or by calling 1-800- BOATING. Information on spring boat preparation is also available online at westmarine.com.
The guide and DVD are intended to help boaters perform their own spring boat preparation quickly and easily. Manufacturer's instructions and owner's manuals should always be consulted before carrying out any procedure, and manufacturer's instructions should be followed when in disagreement with these materials. West Marine makes no warranties expressed or implied by any statements contained in this document.
ABOUT WEST MARINE
West Marine, the country's favorite retailer of boating supplies and accessories, has over 400 stores located in 38 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Our catalog and Internet channels offer customers approximately 50,000 products and the convenience of exchanging catalog and Internet purchases at our retail stores. Our Port Supply division is one of the country's largest wholesale distributors of marine equipment serving boat manufacturers, marine services, commercial vessel operators and government agencies. For more information on West Marine's products and store locations, or to start shopping, visit westmarine.com or call 1-800-BOATING (1-800-262-8464).