Your Mission: Recommission!
Can you feel it— Spring is in the air—the birds are singing, the mercury's rising and that boat of yours is just begging to be taken for a spin. Although the season's boundless sense of promise might tempt you to run yodeling down the docks, reining in that enthusiasm for juuust a little longer will pay off in the long run. Taking the time to recommission or de-winterize your boat with basic preventative measures will ensure that nothing stands between you and boating bliss. Not even a lack of yodeling ability.
For help understanding the steps for proper recommissioning, we turned to our customer service experts at Bayliner, to help guide us through the process:
How much service is required at the start of the season depends largely on the length of non-use, and your thoroughness in decommissioning last year. Wise boat owner that you are, we'll assume your winterization was nice and thorough. In fact, we'll assume you enlisted the help of a pro—and encourage you to do the same this spring. Dealers are your best source for assistance in this process — they know your boat and engine well and can easily walk you through the steps of recommissioning.
If you prefer to do it yourself, working from the outside in, detail your boat's exterior before putting it in the water. This will save you a lot of hassle later. After all, once you put it in, you're not going to want to take it out. Assess your bottom paint coat, repainting as needed. Wash the hull using reputable cleaning products and give it a fresh coat of wax.
Preserving your canvas and, particularly, your isinglass (if you have it) is another easy preventative step. If they've been rolled up all winter, they can become brittle and likely to bend or crack if unrolled cold. Bring them in and let them warm inside your home or car for a while, and they'll be properly flexible.
Recommissioning is also prime time to make sure your boat's battery is in ship-shape. Be sure your battery is charged and the connections are clean and tight. A CO alarm and a radio's memory can drain a battery during the storage months so much so that your boat may not start. Once your battery is fully charged, be sure it's topped off with distilled water. Please follow all the proper safety precautions when preparing your battery or bring it to an expert for assistance.
Of course, the most important checks you'll make pre-season happen in the engine compartment. Inspect wiring and electrical connections to ensure rodents didn't pay a visit during the off-season! Spring is the perfect time to make sure all fluids are back to operating levels and to check the drive oil in the stern reservoir, especially if you didn't when you winterized. Be careful to make sure all batteries and generators are turned off during this inspection. Now is also a good time to change wear items such as spark plugs and fuel filters. And, to easily avoid overheating, ask yourself if it's time to replace the impeller.
If you tow your boat, don't forget to service your trailer. Check the tires and the spare for proper inflation, grease the wheel bearings, check the lights and, if equipped, the brakes. And lastly, perform a thorough inspection of the trailer frame.
When the precious moment arrives to fire 'er up, run the engine at idle speed for a few moments to warm it to normal operating temperature. Check for proper operation of the cooling, electrical and warning systems. Ensure that steering and engine controls operate freely. Finally, verify that the drain plug is in—common sense, yes, but a serious case of the spring antsies can make a boater forgetful. Give your boat the loving attention it's used to getting, and you'll be rewarded with endless hours of nonstop fun in the sun.
Also see tips on winterizing your boat