Let’s have a frank conversation.

Temperatures are rising, the March winds have died down and sailing season is approaching. That means it’s officially time to spring into action and get your boat out of storage.

But, starting a new season of boating isn’t a “just add water” scenario. To make sure your boat is in peak condition after a winter of hibernation, you need to check off a few post-storage tasks. Fortunately, if you used our official winterizing checklist before you put your boat in storage, it shouldn’t take long to “wake up” your boat for the new season.

Because boats and engines differ, start by checking your owner’s manual for any specific pre-season instructions. Then use the spring boating checklist below to get ready for the water:

  • Check the hull and propellers for any damage (cracks, dings, etc.) and make any necessary repairs.
  • Give the boat a thorough cleaning, waxing and polishing. (Even in storage, dirt and dust can accumulate on your boat’s surfaces.)
  • Charge the battery and test to make sure it can hold a charge.
  • Check all electrical connections to make sure they are tight and clean, with no corrosion.
  • Check the fuel system: Inspect hoses, connections and tank surfaces for leaks or damage, and make sure all fittings and clamps are properly secured.
  • Inspect all belts, cables and hoses for wear, cracks or brittle areas. Then, replace any damaged parts.
  • Check all fluids: Engine oil, gearbox oil, coolant and power steering fluid.
  • Inspect all your safety gear: Make sure you have enough life jackets and that they are in good condition, and that fire extinguishers are fully charged.

And while you’re checking things over:

  • Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your boat before you ever get behind the wheel. Contact your insurance agent to review your policy.