March is the beginning of the Spring in Galveston and along the Upper Coast.. Most people have not even used their boats in January. Boats are often neglected during this month. March ushers in warmer temperatures, now is the time to get your boat ready for the season.
First a visual inspection of your boat should be done. Look for deep chips or cracks in your gel coat. If they are into the fiberglass, they should be repaired to prevent intrusion of water. Switches and gauge should be checked. Make sure they are properly working. All pumps,livewell,bilge ect..need to be checked for proper operation. You should also check the hoses going to them for leaks. Navigation lights are often overlooked until you need them!
Your motor should be serviced at this time. Lower unit oil needs to be changed. Check to make sure there is no water in the oil. If needed replace the seals in the lower unit. On four strokes the engine oil should be changes along with the lower unit. All filters should be replaced at this time. Check your spark plugs and replace them if needed. Fuel issues can arise on those boats that have sat a long time. Untreated gas can separate, if so discard the old gas and start off fresh. Today's outboards should be serviced by professionals if more work is needed than just the preventive maintenance.
Your boat trailer should be inspected and repaired if necessary. Your wheel bearings should be replaced if longer than three years old. Rotted bunk boards and torn carpet should be replaced. Your wrench should operate smoothly and the strap inspected for dry rot. Inspect the lights to make sure they work and don't overlook the leaf springs. replace them if needed.
Last but not least, look over your safety items for the boat. Lifejackets are prone to dry-rot and meed to be replaced. I suggest replacing them with a USCG Type 1. Check flares to make sure they are not expired. Your throw cushion should be inspected.
Now is the time to get your boat ready for the warmer weather. Boat shops get busy so plan accordingly. Don't wait till the last minute!! Visit us on facebook@ Coastal Charter Club.
Capt. David C. Dillman