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As part of spring commissioning, boaters should check their boat’s fire
extinguishers to see if they were included in a 2017 product safety recall of
more than 40 million Kidde fire extinguishers.
Spring Commissioning Checklist
backyards, marinas, and clubs now coming to life, spring commissioning time has
arrived. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has a Spring Commissioning Checklist
to help boaters start the season right:
and replace hose clamps as necessary. Double-clamp fuel lines and exhaust
hoses with marine-rated stainless-steel hose clamps. Keep seacocks closed
when you are away from the boat.
all hoses for stiffness, rot, leaks and cracking, and replace any that are
faulty. Make sure they fit snugly.
prop(s) for dings, pitting and distortion. Make sure cotter pins are
the prop (on inboard drive systems) and try moving the shaft up and down
and side to side. If it’s loose and can be wiggled, the cutless bearing
may need to be replaced.
the rudderstock to ensure it hasn’t been bent. Operate the wheel or tiller
to ensure the steering works correctly.
the hull for blisters, distortions and stress cracks.
sure your engine intake sea strainer (if equipped) is not cracked or bent
from ice and is free of corrosion, clean and properly secured.
inboards, check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for correct
adjustment. A stuffing box should leak no more than two drops each minute
when the prop shaft is turning.
and lubricate seacocks.
a garden hose to check for deck leaks at ports and hatches. Renew caulk or
gaskets as necessary.
the bilge pump and float switch to make sure they’re both working
stove and remote LPG tanks for loose fittings and leaking hoses.
dock and anchor lines for chafe and wear.
equipped, ensure that the stern drain plug is installed.
the boat is launched, be sure to check all thru-hulls for leaks.
and Fuel Systems
fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or
cracking. Check all joints for leaks, and make sure all lines are well
supported with non-combustible clips or straps with smooth edges.
fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Ensure portable tanks and
lines are completely drained of stale fuel before filling with fresh fuel.
Clean or replace fuel filters and/or fuel-water separators.
few years, remove and inspect exhaust manifolds for corrosion (for
inboard-powered and inboard/outboard boats).
and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery
cables. Use a wire brush to clean battery terminals, and top up cells with
distilled water (if applicable).
the bilge blower hose for leaks and run the blower to confirm correct
Outdrives and Outboards
rubber outdrive bellows for cracked, dried and/or deteriorated spots (look
especially in the folds) and replace if suspect.
power steering and power trim oil levels.
anodes that are more than half wasted away.
the outer jacket of control cables. Cracks or swelling indicate corrosion
and mean that the cable must be replaced.
lower unit oil level and top up as necessary.
swage fittings for cracks and heavy rust (some discoloration is
acceptable). Inspect wire halyards and running backstays for “fishhooks”
tape on turnbuckles and lubricate threads, preferably with Teflon. Replace
old tape with fresh tape.
you suspect the core around a chain plate is damp, remove the chain plate
to inspect and make repairs.
tire treads and sidewalls for cracks or lack of tread and replace as
necessary. Check air pressure; don’t forget the spare.
wheel bearings and repack as necessary.
all lights and replace any broken bulbs or lenses.
winch to make sure it’s working properly. Inspect hitch chains.
trailer frame for rust. Sand and paint to prevent further deterioration.
brakes and brake fluid reservoir.
expiration dates on flares.
fire extinguishers. Replace if over 12 years old or if age is unknown.
More than 40 million Kidde extinguishers with plastic handles were recalled on Nov.
you have properly sized and wearable life jackets in good condition for
each passenger, including kids. Check inflatable life jacket cylinders and
dissolvable “pill” bobbins in auto-inflating models.
smoke, carbon monoxide, fume and bilge alarms.
running lights for operation and spare bulb inventory.
paper charts and chart plotter software.
first-aid kit items that may have been used last season.
the operation of VHF radio(s) and that the MMSI number is correctly
programmed in. (BoatU.S. members can obtain a free MMSI number at
a free vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S.
Power Squadrons. Find out more at SafetySeal.net.
both ends of the shore power cable connections for burns, which indicate
the cable and/or boat’s shore power inlet or the dock’s receptacle must be
ground-fault protection on your boat and private dock and know how to
prevent Electric Shock Drowning.
sure your boat registration is up to date. Don’t forget your trailer tags.
your boat insurance policy and update coverage if needed. BoatUS provides
free quotes at BoatUS.com/Insurance. Provide a copy to your marina or
your BoatUS Membership is in good standing. Login to BoatUS.com/Account to
check your Membership status or join at BoatUS.com/Join.
the free BoatUS App (BoatUS.com/App) to
make it easy to summon on-water assistance and speed response times.
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