10 Steps to Get Ready for Spring Boating in Michigan
You're probably not throwing the boat in the water this weekend with the freeze warning. But next weekend looks more likely with temps back up in the 60's.
Here's a checklist of what you'll need to do before you head to the boat launch. You don't want to be that guy whose boat won't start holding up the other boats ready to go.
#1 BATTERY - You need Power or your motor won't start unless your batteries are charged. Did you have them on a trickle-charger all winter? Easy way tell on my battery charger - the amps go down to zero for a charged battery. Check the connections on your battery too, clean them up and put a little marine grease on them.
#2 GAS - Did you put additives in your gas for storage? If not you'll want to add one before you try and start the boat. STA-BIL and SEAFOAM gas treatments will mix with any water that's gotten into your tank and not harm your motor.
#3 FUEL FILTER - take a look at your fuel filter to see if there is anything in the gas. Real Easy check that will save you time. My gas looks a little cloudy. Use additives above.
#4 CHECK THE OIL - most newer 4-stroke motors have a dipstick just like your car. Nice my mechanic puts the date of last oil change on my boat 9-19 so my motor should be good. Now also check your lower unit oil as well - if it's cloudy it needs to be changed.
Now that you have power, good gas and oil and your motor starts it's time to check everything else.
#5 ELECTRONICS - make sure all your switches work. Does the Horn work - mine didn't a wire came loose - easy fix. Does your bilge pump work - good. Also check the radio you need some music. Check your Depthfinder/GPS.
#6 PROP - Does it spin freely? Is it damaged? Also check to see if your Propeller Cotter pin isn't rusty. A good rule of thumb is to start the season with a new one. On this boat it has a safety lock so you can't steal the prop. If you've installed one of these you're good.
#7 CLEANING - See attached pictures of cleaning products to clean the boat. Boat Wasn-N-Shine, Hull Cleaner for any mold or tougher stains, Rubbing Compound & Restorer Wax to get it shiny and then even sell a Rub Rail Restorer - which is really good to put on before the summer sun.
#8 TIRES - Check the air pressure in your tires. Looks like one of mine was low and it was...this easy step will save the hassle of changing a flat on the way to the lake.
#9 LIGHTS - Hook up the trailer to the truck and check the lights. Put your Emergency Hazard Flashing lights on to start. Then have someone try brake lights and turn indicators. Check the running lights on your boat too. You never know when you may get caught out after dark.
#10 SAFETY - Going out on Lake Michigan - check the expiration of your flares. How do your Life Jackets and Throw Cushion look. Feel comfortable it would save your life?
Now you're ready to go. I know it may irritate the neighbors, but put the water earmuffs on your motor and fire it up.
Last thing don't pull this common rookie mistake- put the Boat Plug In! You're not going to want to jump into 45 degree water to put it in after launch!