Spring is finally here and the sun and warm temperatures are not far behind. Soon you will want to be out enjoying the sunshine and what better way to do it than getting out on the water? Before you make your first trip to the lake this year, it’s a good idea to make sure your sterndrive engine or outboard motor is top running shape. Below is a boat equipment checklist of some items to review before taking your boat out. This list does not represent everything you should check but does give good suggestions of where you should start. Please consult a certified marine repair mechanic prior to working on your boat motor. It’s also a good idea to consult your owner’s manual for maintenance instructions specific to your boat model.
Cables, Belts & Hoses
Always check for cracking that occurred during winter storage.
Control cables with cracks or swelling on the outer layer may indicate need to replace.Belts should fit tightly around the pulleys to prevent slipping. A worn belt may have a black substance near the pulley & also may fit loosely.
Contact your boat repair center or order cables online to replace yourself.
Charge your battery and test it so you can be sure it will hold a charge. Electrical systems should be routinely inspected by a qualified technician.Review electrical connections for cleanliness and tightness. Check for corrosion which is often a sign that the connection may not be safe. Remove terminals and use a wire brush to clean connections and cable ends.
Propellers & Hulls
Inspect propellers for damage. Verify the propeller is properly secured.
If you experience unwanted vibration, poor performance and damage to the propulsion system, your prop may be damaged & need to be replaced.
Inspect the Hull – look for cracks & distortions. Clean the outside of your boat using an environmentally-safe cleaner.
Check your fuel lines for damage. Signs of damaged hoses can be either cracking, hard hoses or very soft hoses. Remember to check fuel hoses, connections and tank surfaces.
Insure clamps and fitting are secured.
Ensure the engine, exhaust and ventilation systems are also all functioning properly.
Check all fluid levels including
Engine oil- Change the oil if this was not done during winterizing. Include a new oil filter & change drive lubricants
Power trim reservoir
Power Steering Fluid
Lifejackets need to be in good condition It’s important for passengers to have access to the correct size lifejacket for their body weight.
Onboard fire extinguishers must be the correct class for your boat, fully charged.
Inspect trailer wheels, verify that tires are inflated to proper level.
Check that trailer straps are not worn and are holding properly.
Verify that your trailer is the proper size for your boat.
Go here for a more extensive annual boat maintenance checklist.