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Ready or Not! Spring Prep Check-list
March 27th, 2014 @ 04:06 PM EST by admin

Spring Prep Check-list

Your boat, like mine, is scheduled to launch April 26 or 27. That’s less than a month from publication of this newsletter. I can’t wait, can you? The poor thing has been lying there stiff, cold, silent, alone and weather-beaten since the Fall, through what has been a miserable winter. She could sure use a bit of TLC and close personal attention before being dunked back in the lake. And if you ever want to see your cradle again, now would also be a good time to properly mark it with boat name, member number and references to which is the pointy and which is the blunt end (bow and stern are the actual words to use in case you have forgotten). Otherwise, poor cradle marking may prove very costly in the fall.

As to the boat, I offer a list below intended not for your boat but mainly for you. It’s been awhile since we had to think of such things so this is offered to help coax that boating portion of your mind out of hibernation and trigger thoughts of what you should be doing to with your boat in your situation. The list is not exhaustive nor boat specific but it should start you neurons firing. The rest is up to you. Launch will go as scheduled.

Make a List
• Make a list, check it twice and mark off what you have completed
• Review last year’s notes and logs for outstanding problems
• Add the notes and reminders you made over the winter to the list
• Create a comprehensive list that is specific to your boat and situation
• Modify the list as you progress and save it as a starter list for next year

Preparation
• Think of it as fun – or at least as leading to fun sometime later
• Remove, clean, air out, dry and store winter cover(s)
• Arrange a method of safely securing ladder for work
• Remove debris and tidy up around cradle site
• Check the boat for signs of water, bird and animal intrusion
• Clean up on deck and below and air out the boat
• Consider cleaning or washing furniture covers and curtains
• Add to your list any new problems seen, smelled or suspected as you prepare

On Deck
• Inspect for signs of leaks, excessive moisture or discoloration
• Prime, oil or rough-repaint any exposed wood – leave refinishing for later
• Lubricate blocks, winches, shackles; standing and running rigging
• Before launch, remove all loose objects and trip hazards from the deck
• Freshen canvas covers, dodgers, etc – but don’t wash out the waterproofing

Hull
• Inspect thoroughly; fill/fix any damage
• Wash – maybe with a “power” washer (but be careful of newly painted areas)
• Prepare hull, fill, fair, wax and polish
• Mask off areas to be painted
• Prepare for and renew anti-fouling
• Inspect keel attachments, chain plates, thru-hulls, drains and screens
• Inspect stuffing box; service if required
• Inspect/replace zincs
• Inspect prop and shaft for both condition and security
• Inspect struts and cutlass bearings for security and wear
• Clean out thru-hull gratings, fittings and valves
• Rig means of catching anti-freeze on engine startup
• Properly dispose of all anti-freeze, oils, fuel, paints or similar fluids
• Remove paint from face of depth sounder and speed transducer
• Now’s the time to properly install any new thru-hull or transducer

Interior
• Ventilate well, tidy and spring clean
• Clean portholes, port lights, hatches and deadlights
• Look for signs of leaks, locate and repair any found
• Remove and dispose of any damp or mildewed materials
• Clean and de-grease bilge; properly dispose of waste
• Inspect wiring for areas of chafe or loose connections
• Open up all limber holes
• Closely examine all thru-hull fittings, hoses, clamps and attachments
• Examine fuel filters for signs of water or contamination
• Replace drain plug if removed
• Lubricate and operate seacocks until action is smooth and free
• Clean out primary fresh, cooling and raw water filters
• Clean and test bilge pumps, alarms and float switches
• Thoroughly clean ice box or fridge, check operation
• Wash down all interior surfaces
• Inspect below decks area and lockers for signs of leaks, mildew or damage
• Freshen-up upholstery, curtains etc.
• Treat or replace any damaged or mildewed foam
• Remove, inspect and re-stow gear

Engine
• Ensure that the engine oil and filter have been changed; check oil level
• Inspect/renew fuel filter(s), drain any water from primary filter
• Inspect/renew air filter
• Inspect transmission fluid, change if required
• Gas: Inspect ignition harness and flame arrestor
• Gas: Carefully check forced ventilation system, hoses, vents
• Gas: Inspect/change spark plugs, points & rotor
• Diesel: Inspect fuel delivery system, drain sediment and water
• Inspect/test/change/refill coolant
• Inspect/change all drive belts – locate spare(s)
• Inspect/change raw water impeller – locate spare(s)
• Check all hoses for soft or worn spots; replace as necessary
• Check hose clamps for placement, security and corrosion
• Look for leaks, drips; trace and repair
• Clean drip trays, add oil absorbent pad
• Check engine and bilge ventilation and ventilating fan operation
• Check operation of any gas or fume alarms
• Inspect and check engine wiring for looseness and chafing
• Examine prop shaft and coupling flange; it may need in-water realignment
• Re-examine stuffing box from inside
• Check all engine mounts and attachments
• Examine engine for signs of loosening bolts, nuts, hoses or gear• Ensure that nothing is blocking exhaust or air intakes
• Be sensitive to presence of fuel odours – if present get professional help

Electrical
• Clean battery and battery terminals
• Check specific gravity
• Top up with distilled water
• Reconnect and charge, ensuring charger and batteries have adequate ventilation
• Inspect/clean alternator and starter terminals
• Check wiring for signs of looseness and chafing
• Check electrical circuits for proper operation
• Check all exterior lights that can be checked before launch
• Re-install any electronics that were removed for winter and test operation

Plumbing
• Flush potable antifreeze into disposable container(s)
• Flush tanks with fresh water (add small amount of bleach or cup of baking soda)
• Check all pumps for leaks and proper operation
• Inspect and secure all hose clamps
• Pressurize fresh water system
• Examine system for signs of leaks
• Inspect holding tank, prepare and service head(s)
• Tighten down head mounts if needed, check for leakage, freezing damage

Gear
• Inspect/repair sails and running gear
• Clean and prepare mast; remount mast attachments
• Inspect/re-tension all mast attachments
• Inspect/renew retaining pins/rings
• Inspect navigation, anchor and running lights
• Ensure that blocks run freely
• Inspect and service winches and line control devices
• Inspect/replace sheets, halyards, chafing gear
• Inspect, lubricate and service all running rigging and attachments
• Inspect standing rigging and attachments, lubricate as required
• Inspect and clean rode and anchor gear, wire shackles shut
• Locate pins or rings to lock standing rigging when raised
• Remove rust on any metal parts
• Prepare docking space or swing mooring
• Clean, prepare and attach mooring lines, lock shackles

Controls
• Inspect/lubricate control cables, levers, rods, gears
• Inspect and top-up hydraulic steering, check, adjust and lubricate others
• Inspect and adjust rudder packing gland
• Inspect, lubricate and adjust rudder mounts and attachments
• Inspect and lubricate wheel or tiller systems, attachments and fittings
• Test all controls for free and correct operation

Safety
• Inspect/check all PFDs and life jackets, confirm adequate number and condition
• Inspect fire extinguishers; condition, type, number, size, confirm adequacy
• Replenish first aid kit, note location
• Locate all safety gear – ensure compliance with all directives
• Inspect and renew flares as required, stow in safety locker
• That’s not all, but it’s a start and, hopefully, will trigger some memories of your own. May 2 is not that far away!

by David George