The sun is lingering longer in the sky, which means it’s time to ‘de-winterise’ your boat and get out on the water. But before you can embark on your first trip, you still need to inspect your boat to ensure it is functional. Thankfully, de-winterising shouldn’t take too long, as long as your boat was properly stowed.
The de-winterising process can be broken down into the following seven simple steps:
1. Change the engine oil and replace the oil filter.
2. Inspect the cooling system hoses for any cracks that may have formed during the winter. If there is no damage, empty the strainer before refilling the system.
3. Check your boat’s battery to see if it contains water. If the battery is dry, you can either top it up with distilled water or have it replaced. In addition, you should clean any corrosion from the battery terminals before using a battery tester to check the amps and volts. If the battery is incapable of holding a charge, you should replace it.
4. Remove the distributor cap and clean it. While the cap is off, inspect the device for any corrosion. If there is no damage, re-attach all the connections.
5. Replace the fuel filter and inspect the fuel line for cracks. If you did not put additives in the petrol when you winterised your boat, you will need to drain the petrol and refill the tank. When you refill the tank, use a quality additive that does not contain ethanol to avoid damage from E10 petrol.
6. Press down on your belts to determine if they are loose. If the belt has a lot of give, it needs to be replaced. In addition, inspect the area near the pulleys for soot, which signals that the belts are worn and need to be replaced.
7. Have the hull inspected for any damage that may have occurred over the winter. If no damage is identified, clean and wax the hull. In addition, you may want to consider applying a special antifouling paint to protect your boat from harmful organisms.
If you have a sailing boat, there is an additional de-winterising step of inspecting the sails, battens, batten pockets and sail attachments for any wear and chafing. Also, examine the mast and rigging for any signs of corrosion.
If you identify any damage during your inspection, have your boat serviced by a licensed boat mechanic. Also remember to review each piece of safety equipment on board to ensure that it is all in working order.
One last important thing to do is to make sure you have reviewed your yacht and motorboat insurance. Ask your broker to ensure that it is current and provides comprehensive cover so you can enjoy the summer boating season.
A-Plan can help you with all your boat and marine insurance needs. Please get in touch with our marine insurance specialist team at our Parkstone branch on 01202 725 165
(Please note: these tips were put together with the advice of our specialist marine insurance team, but should not be taken as a definitive list)