It may not feel like it right now, but spring is just around the corner—March 19, to be exact—and that means it's time to start thinking about boating and fishing season in Kansas and Missouri. Whether you like taking your boat out on the lake and simply soaking up the sun or whether you're planning to hook the big one this year, you're going to need to start preparing your vessel for that first day on the water.
Before you take your boat out of hibernation, though, there are a few things to do to ensure that it's ready for a season of fishing and boating after being cooped up in boat storage all winter.
Of course, every boat has its own unique pre-season prep and maintenance items, so you'll absolutely want to consult your boat owner's manual for in-depth tips on how to prepare your specific model of boat for the water. But there are also a few tips that will help you get the most out of any craft that's been in boat storage.
- Check the fuel system for leaks or damage. Hoses and connections are the most likely places for leaks, as is the surface of the fuel tank itself. It's also a good idea to make sure that the engine and exhaust systems are in good working order before you get out on the water.
- All electrical connections should be clean, tight, and free of corrosion.
- Check your battery to make sure that it's fully charged. Like the engine, you'd rather know if there is a problem with this while the boat is still in boat storage.
- Make sure the propellers don't have any dents, cracks, pitting, or other distortions.
- Look over the boat's hull. Blisters, cracks, or other hull damage can be a sign of bigger problems that need to be addressed.
- Belts, cables, and hoses can all become brittle over time. This may lead to them cracking or breaking. Look them all over before you take your boat out of boat storage.
- Just like you would with your car, you should make sure that your fluid levels are all topped off before you take your boat out for the first time. This means oil, of course, but it also includes coolant and power steering fluid, if applicable. This is also a good time to change your oil filter.
- And, of course, before you put the boat in the water you should make sure that your life jackets are in good condition and that there are enough on board for you and any passengers you may be carrying.
As you're preparing to take your boat out on the lake, don't forget to notify your boat storage facility at least ten days in advance so that you don't get charged for renting an empty space. Of course, you always have the option to hold your space until the boating season is over and you return for more boat storage.