Ahhh, springtime!  It’s the first crocuses, daffodils, tulips poking their heads above ground once the snow melts. It’s the snow melting! It’s the end of March madness, the first tee shot at the Masters, it’s the opening crack of bat against ball!

It’s also the time to start getting your boat ready for the upcoming summer season. Boat owners know that time is measured in two segments: boating season and winter. And they know that their boats need some maintenance and attention whenever each season comes around.

Here at Colorado Boat Center, our service technicians know and understand the steps that must be taken to awaken your boat from its long winter sleep and get it ready to hit the water once the weather warms up. We’ve been doing it for decades now and we understand the peculiarities of boating in this part of the world.

If you entrust your boat to our care, we’ll get it ready for the season in the following steps:

  • Replace fuel filters. It’s good practice to replace fuel and other filters once a year, and springtime is the best time to do it.
  • Flush and treat fuel system with stabilizer.
  • Inspect and replace worn hoses and belts
  • Inspect and replace malfunctioning lights
  • Flush freshwater storage and lines
  • Inspect and change spark plugs
  • Inspect and repair electrical systems and electronics
  • Change and/or top off engine fluids

Those are the basics, and once our techies are done going through that list, your boat will be ready to go. But wait…there’s more!

Marine engines are complicated machines, and have lots of working parts. In addition to the basics above there are some other aspects of spring training that every boat owner should keep an eye on.

  • Check for deteriorated anodes.  Like any underwater metallic surfaces, anodes tend to disintegrate over time. You should check them every year and if they show signs of wear, replace them. Look first for chafed DC wires and battery cables.
  • Inspect your props.  Look for dings, pitting or distortions that can create extra vibration which can loosen screws and bulkheads and damage the transmission. Check the cotter pins. On inboard engines, check the cutlass bearing by gripping the shaft and trying to move it side to side within the bearing. If it moves, it may be time to replace the bearing.
  • Inspect the hull for blisters or stress cracks.  Anything you see may need to be sanded and filled, and larger blisters may require professional attention.  Stress cracks mean something is flexing and cracking the gelcoat. If you see a lot of those, let our techs check it out.
  • Check the lower-unit lube.  Usually, owners drain and re-fill the lower-unit lube well before winter sets in. In the spring, check the lube level and condition. If the oil looks like milk chocolate, there may be a bad seal allowing water in. Time for a replacement.
  • Replace the water pump impeller.  After a couple of years these usually give out, and if they fail, your engine will overheat. 
  • Check your belts for tension and wear.  Loose belts squeal and are a sign of wear: worn belts can leave you stranded.
  • Check steering and power-trim oil levels.  Low levels can cause reduced performance and damage the pumps.
  • Inspect the outer jackets of control cables and linkages.  Cracks or swelling indicate corrosion and you should replace those cables. Failure means losing control of the boat, and that isn’t good!  
  • Check your batteries. Clean the battery case to remove dirt. Clean the battery posts and remove any corrosion buildup with a wire brush. Check the electrolyte levels and top up, if necessary, with distilled (not tap) water. Use a battery tester to check the charge level–if  below 12.6 volts, re-charge the battery.
  • Inspect stuffing boxes.  Check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for leaks or looseness. Prop-shaft stuffing boxes shouldn’t leak at all at rest. 

Again, if any of the above sounds like Greek to you, bring the boat to Colorado Boat Center’s service department and let us get your boat professionally ready for the season. Good maintenance on your boat is important for your peace of mind during boating season, when all you want to think about is getting out on the water with family and friends and having fun!

While, of course, listening to the old ball game.