2015 New York Safe Boating - 38
BEST BOATING PRACTICES
Some items need attention before every trip. We've already
discussed most of these in earlier chapters, but they're so
important they bear repeating:
You'll reduce the chance of damage to your boat, motor, and
trailer if you store the boat and trailer properly at the end of
the season. Good storage practices also will save time and
trouble at the beginning of the next boating season when it
is time to get your boat ready for the water. Proper storage
helps prevent rust and dry rot; protects your engine, fuel and
cooling systems; and protects and preserves your electronic
Follow these simple steps for dry storage of your boat during
Make sure there is a boat plug and a back-up, and
that the plugs are watertight.
Before launching or fueling your boat, check hoses,
clamps, and belts.
Check the engine cutoff device if the boat is
installed with one.
Check fluid levels and look for leakage of oil or
water in the bilge.
Remove the drain plug.
If using a cover, allow an opening where fresh air
Inspect the backfire flame arrester and ventilation
can circulate through the boat.
Check electrical equipment such as the bilge pump,
Re-pack wheel bearings on the trailer.
Leave your fuel tank full to prevent the build-up of
ventilation blower, navigation lights, horn, and
Raise and lower the outdrive.
Check through hull fittings.
Check all safety equipment making sure you've
water condensation inside the tank.
If your boat has a closed cooling system, fill with
antifreeze during winter storage.
If your boat has an open cooling system (outboards
got the required PFDs and signaling devices for the
waters on which you'll be boating.
and stern drives), flush with fresh water and make
sure it is completely drained before storing.
Check the expiration date on visual distress signals
and replace if needed.
If you'll be storing your boat on the water for any length of
time, adjust your mooring lines taking into account the range
of tides. Cover your lines (chafing gear-such as a piece or
canvas, leather, rope or plastic tubing) where they rub against
hard objects or other lines to protect your mooring lines from
chafing. Leave the battery on for your bilge pump. Consider
providing a periodic heat source or an exhaust fan inside
the cabin to reduce the accumulation of moisture. Always
be aware of the weather forecast, and protect your boat by
securing its moorings if there is large storm coming.
Check the charge indicator on the fire extinguisher
and re-charge or replace if necessary.
Inventory the on-board tool kit and make sure all tools
are included and that they are in good working order.
Check to make sure you have replacement fuses in
the correct sizes, extra spark plugs and drain plugs,
and spare bulbs for running lights.
Before trailering your boat, check the trailer's tire
pressure, brakes, turning and back-up lights, tiedowns, and chains. Be sure the hitch is the proper
size for the hitch ball.
Boat Theft & Security
Once you've developed and started using your list, you'll find
more things to add. Although checking all of these items
before every trip may seem tedious, in the end doing so will
help you get on the water faster and keep you safe so you
can make the most of your time on the water.
Protect your boat and its contents as you protect your
car and your home. Don't be an easy target for thieves;
prevention is the key.
Here are some simple steps to follow:
Lock all compartments and take the keys and your
ignition keys, with you.
Good preventative maintenance and proper planning will
greatly reduce but can never eliminate emergency repairs.
Learn how to do some small repair jobs yourself so that
you can get back to shore and out of danger if there is a
problem. Carry a basic tool kit (wrenches, pliers, screw
drivers, duct tape) and some important spare parts (spark
plugs, drive belt, shear pins) and learn how to handle:
Keep your boat's ignition keys, cabin keys and car
Don't leave anything loose in the cockpit or on
deck-affix anything that's not secure.
Never leave anything valuable visible when you leave
broken drive belts
broken pipes or hoses
broken shear pins
taking on water
Make a list of your equipment with serial numbers,
and mark the equipment with your initials and
driver's license number.
Photograph your boat.