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Overton's Spring Start-Up Guide

Spring is just around the corner which means boating season is closer than you realize. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays consuming our thoughts and schedules, Spring seizes the opportunity to sneak up on us. Get ahead of the game, as old Saint Nick often does, by making a list. Feel free to check it twice.

 

For boating enthusiasts, annual preparations are the key to preventing problems or to acknowledging potential issues before they have the opportunity to progress. If your goal is to be on the water as much as possible, our guide will have you ready to do just that once Spring has officially sprung.

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Fluid Levels and Fuel Systems

Make sure to check all fluid levels, including engine oil, power steering, power trim reservoirs, and coolants. Change the engine oil, oil filter, and drive lubricants if these tasks were not completed during the winterization process.

 

Before filling the fuel tank, inspect the entire fuel system for leaks or damage that may have occurred during storage. Carefully examine fuel hoses and connections to ensure all fittings and clamps are properly secured. Damaged fuel hoses typically appear soft or brittle and may even have cracks. Replace any that are not.

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Hoses, Cables, and Belts

Make a point to inspect all moving parts such as cables and belts. It's not uncommon for them to crack or weaken during colder temperatures off the water. All belts should fit tightly to prevent slipping. Evidence of cracks or swells on the outer jacket of throttle, shift, and steering control cables could be a sign of internal corrosion. Replace all worn hoses, cables, and belts.

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Electrical System and Propellers

Given the nature of electrical systems and their relationship with the water, regular inspections should be routine throughout every season. This is especially true when gearing up to relaunch in the Spring. Look at all electrical connections to ensure they're clean, tight, and corrosion-free. Remove terminals that show signs of corrosion and clean them using a wire brush before reconnecting. Charge the battery and have it tested to ensure it can hold a charge and replace if necessary.

 

Inspect propellers for dings and pitting. Distortion, cracks, and chips can cause vibration and damage to your drive train, leading to costly repairs and more time spent off the water. Make sure the propeller is secured properly and bearings have been replaced if necessary.

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Inside And Out

Occasionally, boats may become a temporary home for unwanted critters looking for an escape from the winter weather. Once the boat cover has been removed, it's important to inspect all upholstery and seats for evidence of uninvited guests. Clean every surface from top to bottom and reapply a vinyl protective cleaner to prepare your boat for the season ahead.

 

Inspect the hull, looking for blisters, cracks, or distortions. Take the necessary steps to repair any defects before they become worse. Using an environmentally safe cleaning solution, clean the hull, deck, and topsides entirely. Also, make sure the drain plug is securely in place before every launch.

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Safety Gear

Before your return to the water, check all life jackets to ensure they're in good condition, that there are enough for every passenger, and that they are the correct size for their body weights. Replace outdated or worn-out jackets. Keep extra life jackets onboard for guests.

Fire extinguishers should be inspected, fully charged, and stowed properly. Flares, flotation devices, and other safety items should be up-to-date and stored within reach in the event they're needed.

 

Last, but not least, ensure the engine, exhaust, and ventilation systems all function properly. Spring will be here soon; have your boat ready when it arrives. ‘Tis the season!

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