Preparing Your Boat For Open Water

Preparing Your Boat For Open Water

Boating season is finally here and boaters, particularly those who experience winter weather in their area, are looking forward to getting out onto the water. If you are among them, consider the following to help protect your watercraft and keep your passengers safe this boating season.

Consult a maintenance checklist.

There are a variety of very comprehensive checklists available. Here's an example.

Prepare for a vessel safety check. 

Ensure that the boat is equipped with working fire extinguishers, distress signals like flares and a horn, ample life jackets that have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, proper ventilation and navigation lights with working bulbs.

Enroll in a boating safety course. 

This will help you become a more skilled captain (and may even lower your insurance premium).

Review the owner’s manual.

Even if you relied on a marina to de-winterize your boat and get it back in the water, there’s a chance it may not have received the recommended maintenance.

Check batteries and fluids. 

When a boat is left inactive for several weeks or more, it is critical to check battery strength and fluid levels before taking it out. Boat electronics such as a stereo, GPS, radio and radar system can drain a battery. Leave the battery switch in the “off” position when it is not in use. Inspect battery cables for rust or corrosion, and use a wire brush for a good, clean connection.

If your boat is in fresh water, have its electrical system tested to ensure there are no leaks. 

Many people, both boaters and swimmers, are unaware of the threat of electric shock drowning. Faulty wiring on a boat, dock or boathouse can leak electric currents into the water, potentially electrocuting or incapacitating nearby swimmers. Protect yourself and those around you by having your boat inspected by an electrician with current ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) Electrical Certification or by an ABYC Certified Technician. To learn more about this under-communicated issue, read this informative piece by Cobbs Allen.


computer-icon-contact-us.pngPURE members who have questions or need assistance preparing their vessel for the season ahead can contact a PURE Member Advocate® at or 888.813.7873.