Around this time is a great chance to go through your pre-season boating checklist before you hit the water for summer.
It’s always a good idea to have your outboard engine serviced once a year. Spring is a popular time to check this checked, to ensure your boat is ready to hit the water as soon as possible. Annual servicing of your engine not only extends the engines life, it also helps with greater resale value down the track.
Inspect your propeller for dings, pitting and distortion. Damaged props can result in reduced top-end speed and fuel economy, as well as cause poor handling and unwanted vibration that damages the drive train. Check that the prop is secured and the prop shaft has adequate marine grease on it.
Next is your batteries. Check your batteries are holding their charge by running a simple battery charge test. You invest good money and rely on your batteries to perform each time you hit the water. The simplest thing you can do to maintain a battery is to clean away any corrosion with a solution of thick baking soda and water. It’s important to maintain proper water levels.
It’s also a good idea to check that all your electronics are working. Check the operation of your navigation lights, anchor and mast lights, cabin lights, 12V power outlet, bilge pump, and your marine electronics. Most marine electronic brands regularly release software for their sonars and chart plotting units, marine radios and multifunction gauges.
Check that the anchor, chain, and rope are free from corrosion and fraying. If you have an anchor winch, ensure it’s in good working order.
While you should also store your boat with the bungs out, check you haven’t inadvertently left them screwed in tight all winter and the rubber O-ring hasn’t compressed or perished. They’re just a few dollars to replace.
If you have a trailer boat, then the trailer itself will need a check. Check your trailer to ensure the safety chain, winch, jockey wheel, rollers and skids are all in good condition. Lubricate the wheel bearings, check tyre condition and pressure, and ensure all lights are working. If your trailer is equipped with electrical brakes, ensure the power source is adequate and the breaks are functioning well.
Also check the trailer connection and the socket fitted to your tow vehicle. Quite often, problems with trailer lights not working can be quickly traced to a corroded connection.
Inspecting lifejackets and PFDs is an important part of the checklist, to ensure everyone that goes out on the water with you is safe. Correctly rated, well maintained PFDs will boost your chance of survival. An inflatable PFD is the overwhelming preference when out on the water. PFDs are lightweight, easier to get in and out of, and more comfortable to wear in a full range of sea conditions.
“If you’re going out on the water, it is essential that you take every step to ensure your own safety and that of others,” said NSW Maritime executive director Angus Mitchell, following extensive vessel checks over the recent long weekend.
Jack O’Rourke is a contributor to Ocean Media
PACKING A PUNCH
Surtees are well known for building top quality alloy boats that are built to fish. The new 540 Workmate is now the smallest hardtop in their range.
Like every Surtees, the 540 Workmate Hardtop features a super smooth riding hull and Anti-roll technology for the perfect fishing platform.
The 190L water ballast offers the ability to add weight for stabilisation at rest, or additional weight can be locked in with the Anti-Roll Lock shut off gate, for added weight when underway.
The cockpit is arguably the largest in its class offering more fishing area than many larger boats. The 540 Workmate Hardtop is available with a wide range of customisable options allowing fishos to personalise their boat to their exact requirements.
Bennington pontoon boats full product line will be available soon Australia wide.
USA based Bennington Boats will be distributed, sold and serviced by Bennington Boats of Australia.
General Manager of Bennington Australia, Andy Clayton, said the state of the art pontoon boats will be sold through a network of new dealerships along the east coast with retail showrooms opening in Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne next month.
"We have now finalised everything with new Bennington vessels in build now heading for our shores," Clayton said. "One of Bennington's premium 27 QX twin engine 10 ft wide boats ordered by an Aussie client and retailed in excess of $300,000 will arrive in time for Christmas.”