Those scorching Florida summer days are winding to a close and the hurricane season is coming to an end. Starting to dream about getting the boat out of storage and start enjoying that magnificent Sunshine Coast water? Take a moment now to check up on your boat, especially the bottom, before launching her for the season. Here are eight must-check items to get your boat ready to hit the water.
1. Bottom paint
The best time to check up on your bottom paint is while the boat's out of the water. Inspect the bottom for areas where the paint is wearing thin or where it's built up too much and is starting to peel and chip. If it's time for new bottom paint, taking care of it now will keep the growth off your boat and keep those visits from the diver short and sweet.
2. Running gear & metalwork
You're also in a position to take a good hard look at the running gear and metalwork below the waterline. Make sure there isn't any electrolysis or damage lingering from last season. If it's time, you can always clean it and give it a coat of paint, Prop One or Prop Speed to keep your yacht running smoothly.
3. Check the cutlass bearing
The cutlass bearing is another piece of equipment that you don't want to have a problem with once the boat's in the water. A worn bearing (or shaft that has worn out of the cutlass bearing's tolerance) can cause vibration issues while operating which can do further damage to your boat's power train. Ensuring that your cutlass bearing is in good condition will lead to a nice, smooth drive out of the boatyard.
4. Change your zincs
There's no point in waiting for the diver to visit to change your zincs at the beginning of the season—start out with a fresh set before the boat goes into the water.
5. Look at those thru-hulls
Did you know that almost one-fifth of sinkings underway and about half of sinkings at the dock are due to failed thru-hulls? Checking your thru-hulls while the boat's out of the water, testing them and lubricating them if necessary is a good first step toward keeping your boat afloat all season.
6. Check the bilge pumps
An absolute must before putting the boat in the water: make sure the bilge pumps are working (just in case any leaks sprang up over the summer).
7. Give your engine some love
It's a good idea to take a look around the engine room and make sure everything is in order. This is also a great time to do an annual engine service, including an oil change, replacement of filters, fuel filters, transmission fluid and engine zincs, and a belt check. A clean bill of health for your engine will give you peace of mind all season.
8. Test the batteries
The number one problem boat owners experience at the beginning of the season is bad batteries. Make sure they've been tested, charged, and topped off with water (if necessary) before you pull off the dock.
And get ready to enjoy the weather!
We hope you have a great 2018-2019 season and look forward to seeing you and your boat again next summer. Bon voyage!