What should I do before launching my boat?

March 24, 2022 by PEMCO Insurance
What should I do before launching my boat?

Don’t be “that boater” who backs up the launch with a motor that won’t start or, worse, breaks down once it’s out on the water and needs rescue. Enjoy a successful first launch of the season with 15 safety checks to make sure your boat and trailer are ready to go.

On the boat, make sure the:
  1. Engine is tuned, including an oil and filter change, and will start at the boat launch (to check, use a garden hose and trailer-fire the motor before leaving home).
  2. Steering and shift linkage are lubricated.
  3. Coolant level is full and contains the proper mixture for freshwater-cooled motors.
  4. Ignition, wiring and electronic equipment work as expected.
  5. Exhaust system is leak-free, particularly if you have an enclosed cabin.
  6. Navigation lights work, even if you don’t plan to boat after dark.
  7. Potable water system is flushed.
  8. Drain and petcocks are secure.

On the trailer, check that the:
  1. Tie-down straps and winch rope show no signs of rot or fraying.
  2. Winch and wheel bearings are lubricated.
  3. Safety chains are the right length without having to twist to shorten them.
  4. Tire pressure is good, including the spare.
  5. Brake and running lights work.
  6. License tabs are current.
  7. Emergency brake on your tow vehicle will hold at the boat ramp.

Also, check that your safety equipment is ready for another season. That means you have a well-fitted life jacket (free of rips or rusty snaps) for everyone on board, a fully charged fire extinguisher and a working smoke and carbon-monoxide detector on board.

Ready for more safe-boating tips? Click BLOG above and search “safe boating.”

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