Once you’ve got all the essentials fired up in the cottage, it’s time to get the next essential rocking: your boat. If you took the time to winterize it properly, this should be a piece of cake. If not, no worries, we’ll get you up and running ASAP.
Before you launch is the perfect time to do an oil change. Remember to change the filter as well, and put enough oil back into the engine before starting it up.
Winter can be tough on hoses, so take a good look at them for signs of brittleness or cracking. Check connections for leaks and have a look at the tanks for signs of cracking. Replace anything that shows signs of wear.
Start charging your battery with a trickle-charger a few days prior to launching. Test it to ensure it can hold a charge. If not, get a new battery. You should also have a look at all connections for corrosion. Remove any signs of corrosion with a wire brush, and then re-connect your battery.
Check that all fluid levels are where they should be. This includes steering fluids, power trim reservoirs, and coolant. Top any of these up if they are low.
Inspect belts for signs of wear and tightness. A loose belt will wear quickly, so tighten any belts that aren’t snug on their pulleys.
Hull and propeller
Check the hull for any dings, bubbles, warps, or deformities. You might as well give it all a good wipe down at this point too, and be sure to use an environmentally-friendly cleaning solution. Check your propeller for any dings or cracks and if there are any, replace it.
Insurance and licenses
This one’s a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget. Make sure your insurance is up to date and that you have all the appropriate paper work. And make sure your boating license is valid.
Make sure you have all the safety equipment you’ll need on board. This includes appropriate life jackets for everyone on board, fire extinguishers, and heaving line. Be sure to inspect everything to ensure it still functions properly. You should also know the minimum safety equipment required by Transport Canada for the size and type of your boat. Have this safety equipment on board at all times.