Corrosion is a nasty natural process. It slowly eats away at your precious investments and your wallet! Corrosion can cause poor electrical connections, mechanical failures, and cause you age a lot faster. Not really, but it sure feels like it! You have to create a meticulous process to maintain your boat performance and value.
Preseason Boat Maintenance- Spring Checklist
No matter if you are a sports fisherman, subsistence fisherman, or a commercial fisherman, we all know the best part about fishing is actually fishing! What a lot of people neglect is proper boat maintenance and preparation. Springtime cleaning and maintenance on a vessel can save you from losing valuable fishing time during the summer.
Our fishing season is so short, if you break down and you have to motor back to port to get the parts replaced and fixed, it could cost you your whole season. That’s why we spend so much time maintaining our boats pre and postseason.
Here is a quick list of things we do for our spring pre-season maintenance.
Fuel System- I’m listing this first because it is very dear to my heart. My first year as a captain, my engine would die at the absolute worst times. While I was fishing the line, pitch black in the middle of the night, in-between monster swell. I would replace my fuel pumps and filters over and over again because I thought that was the problem. Few thousand dollars later, I realized I needed to tighten my fuel lines. With the expansion and contractions of the cold Alaskan winters to hot summers, it was creating enough space for air to enter my system. Causing my fuel pumps to burn out.
Check your fuel lines!! Tighten your hose clamps and make sure there is nothing loose or leaking.
Fuel Tank- Honestly, I would love to hear your feedback on this one. How do you handle your fuel tank for winterization? The long debate, some will keep their tanks empty/ half full/ or topped off. Everyone swears to be the most efficient. Regardless of your methods, you want to make sure you remove all of the water that has accumulated through condensation over the winter.
I start by changing to fresh fuel filters on my engines, then I replace my filters in my secondary fuel filters. I will replace the filters with a finer 2-micron filter. Run the engine and keep an eye on the filters, then once they filter out all the foreign particles I will go ahead and put new 10-micron filters, so my fuel pumps wont need to work as hard with clean fuel.
Belts/Cables- After a long winter, you want to make sure your belts are fitting properly around your alternators. You want to make sure they get fully charged. Once your boat is launched, I recommend running it outside the harbor or port for 45-60 minutes. Along with checking other systems, you’ll be able to give your batteries a good charge.
I have twin Hamilton 213 Jets so I always make sure my belts are nice and snug. If not, I wont have power to engage my reverse buckets. During my 2016 fishing season, one of my belts kept skipping and wasn’t getting enough traction to engage the reverse buckets, fortunately I had a great deckhand who was able to kick my buckets down every time I yelled “ REVERSE!!!” I always carry spare belts now.
Electrical System- At the end of each season, once we finish all post season maintenance, we put our aluminum boat on a trailer and store it away for the next season. Before we lock up the doors, I always disconnect all cables to the batter to prevent excessive battery drainage.
Now that spring is here we want to inspect all electrical connections and cables and make sure we reconnect them to the appropriate terminals. If any of the connections are green or funky looking, good chance that they became corroded. Remove and replace the connections.
After years of running your own boat, you become pretty good at managing your own electrical systems. If you aren’t so confident, have a qualified electrician inspect everything for you. The last thing you want while you are in the middle of the ocean is all of your electrical instruments to short circuit. I also learned the hard way on this one.
Hull- Prepare the sacrifices! With aluminum boats, we need to place zincs, which has a higher voltage in the water, on our hull/jets/ impellers. It will protect your other metals from eating away. Which is where the term “Sacrificial Anodes” comes from. If you are an active boater you need to actively check your zincs to protect your investments! We found BoatZincs.com typically has the best deal, and if they don’t, they will match the price!
Fluids- Now, if you followed our postseason checklist, you should have an engine full of clean oil. Do your due diligence and check all fluid levels: Engine Oil, Power Steering, Hydraulic oil, trim tab reservoirs.
If you did not change your engine oil after last season, right now will be the best time to do so!
Ok, so it wasn’t as quick as I thought. But these are all things that could be easily done and will sure to save you some headache during the summer boating season!
If you have any specific questions, please send us an email.