If you are a seasoned boater or just starting out, here is a checklist to make sure everything is ready to go on your first day out.
Safety Gear - Nothing will end your day quicker than being stopped by marine patrol and not having up to date safety gear. With the fire extinguisher being one of the more important, make sure it has a full charge and your flares are not expired. Inspect floatation devices for wear and pesky rodents that may have rendered them unusable. Lastly, make sure your other signaling devices are in working order.
Mechanical - Most boats have specific "de-winterizing" processes so check your owner's manual or contact a certified mechanic for the correct procedure. Checking your fuel filter and oil levels are also a good idea. Make sure you charge up your batteries and that they hold a charge. Hook up the earmuffs and start and run the boat prior to going out.
Trailer - We often overlook our trailers which can lead to several problems. Grease all bearings including the trailer lift and winch. Grease your ball and use wd40 on the other moving parts. Check your winch straps for wear and rot as well as your trailer straps. State patrol have been known give tickets for worn straps. Lights are always in need of checking. The most common problem are bad ground wires or corroded plugs with bad connections. Anti-corrosion spray can help this.
Cosmetic - Hopefully you have kept your boat covered. Even if you have not, there are simple steps you can take to get your gel coat looking good again. For light oxidation, a simple wash and wax should be sufficient. Heavier oxidation may require buffing with a light to heavy buffing compound, always followed with a coat of good carnauba wax. For very heavy oxidation, wet sanding with 800-1000 grit paper can help followed by a buff and wax but this will probably only work temporarily. Once the oxidation gets too far, there is really nothing you can do to keep it from coming back.
Hopefully these tips will help your first day back on the water be a great one.
Article courtesy of boatbroke.com.