The docks will soon be back in the water, which means boating season is right around the corner. If you haven’t prepped your boat yet, you’ll want to put that on your to-do list soon, because the first trip out on the water will be here before you know it!


Always follow what’s prescribed in your owner’s manual, especially when it comes to the engine and electrical systems. Here’s a checklist outlining what needs to be done as you prep your boat for the season:

1. Overall cleaning – It doesn’t matter if you put your boat into dry storage or if you left it covered with a tarp outside all winter – it needs a cleaning. Check that critters didn’t build a nest in the seat cushions, inspect the hull for scrapes, and thoroughly wash out the bilges and tanks. Also look for mildew on the floors, seats, covers and anything else in the boat that is vinyl. Boats are often used in areas with high humidity, and that can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. This is not only bad for the boat itself, but also for your health. Be sure to remove any mold and mildew before you use the boat this summer.

2. Wax the hull – Keep your hull in prime condition all summer long with a fresh coat of wax on the hull. This will help protect the paint, which keeps everything from rusting. If you notice a spot where paint has scraped away, get that fixed first and then layer on the wax.

3. Prep the engine – Check all the fluids and be sure to add some gasoline to the engine. If you didn’t change the oil last fall, do so now. Hook up your fully charged battery and give the engine a test run.

4. Test all electronics – Make certain everything works, including the lighting system, your GPS system, radio and depth finder.

5. Check your registration – Before heading to the water, verify that the registration is up to date on the boat and the trailer.

With these tips and those detailed in your owner’s manual, you’ll be ready to hit the water as soon as the docks are in. So schedule your boat’s spring-cleaning session now, because you won’t want to miss any time out on the water!