Boat prep checklist: Preparing your boat to go back out on the water

Despite the impact Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the world, and these uncertain and troubling times we find ourselves in, we want you to look forward to a future of taking your boat out on the water. You can use your time in lockdown to your advantage by ensuring you’re prepped and ready for when we get the all-clear to return to our daily routines.

Whether your boat is docked at a marina, in a dry stack or sitting in your personal garage, we’ve put together a list of actions everyone can take to prepare for post-Coronavirus enjoyment.

Purchase new boat supplies

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While you’re waiting to get back out on the water, you can ensure you have those simple but essential items such as docking ropes and breakaway cables as these can fray and become damaged after time when left out to the elements.

Carrying a basic toolbox is always a good idea in case of any damage to your boat or belongings while out on the water. Your toolbox should include basic items such as screwdrivers, hammer, Stanley knife and WD40.

Ensure life jackets are not damaged and retain their optimal buoyancy, or consider purchasing a replacement. It’s also good practice to ensure you have an inflatable ring onboard.

One thing to consider is updating your cool box. Cool boxes can be used for a variety of things such as storing food and drink for an afternoon trip on your boat. It also comes in handy for storing any fish caught along the way.

Are you up to date on all your boat equipment? Ensure your marine safety is up to standard with top of the line supplies such as an anchor and chain for when you want to dock your vessel. Purchasing a fender is advised to prevent damage to your boat while berthing.

 

Inspect your safety equipment

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Ensuring you have safety equipment onboard your vessel should be an essential part of your pre-departure checklist.

Items such as non-slip footwear, lifejackets and first aid kits are items each and every boat owner should have aboard at all times. Though life jackets themselves do not expire, the materials used to make the vest can lose their buoyancy over time, therefore it’s extremely important to check the tank replacement date of your vest before purchasing. Most vests have a lifespan of 1-3 years and will eventually need to be replaced.

Similarly, keeping a fire extinguisher aboard is crucial for your safety to prevent accidental fires. These also have an approximate shelf life of 12 years, however, you must always check the label as these dates can differ.

Minor injuries can easily occur when out on your boat, therefore as part of your boat safety requirements you should carry a first aid kit will help ensure you and your loved ones can prevent the injury from worsening. You can purchase a first aid kit online, or source your own supplies.


Perform a maintenance check

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One thing you can do before lockdown is lifted is to perform a thorough boat maintenance check. Patch up any minor scrapes before they become a larger problem further down the line.

It is always important to check fuel levels before any outing on your boat, however, it might be worth filling your tank during lockdown as queues are likely to be long and tiresome once restrictions are lifted and many boat owners are looking to get back out on the water.

Something to be aware of is understanding that saltwater can significantly reduce the lifespan of your boat, therefore flushing the engine of your RIB with freshwater is an essential part of maintaining your boat. 

If you own a trailer, it is essential to check its quality regularly to prevent any breakages, for extra security whilst transporting your vessel, it is recommended you own breakaway cables to minimise damage if your trailer does breakdown.

Here are our top tips to basic maintenance, check:

  • The engine
  • Oil levels
  • Bilge pumps
  • Leaks - plug to fix
  • Loose bolts or pipes
  • The cables and control equipment - assess for wear and tear

Personalise your vessel

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If you’ve spent most of your lockdown hours ensuring your boat is in top condition, the next step would be to personalise your vessel; particularly effective if you own a narrowboat or a yacht. 

Your vessel is just like anything else you own, we naturally personalise our houses and cars according to our own specific tastes, and your boat should be no different. You can tailor it to your own style and level of comfort; the more your boat resembles an extension of your home, the more likely you and your family will be to enjoy explorations on the water.

No matter the size of your vessel, you can always find ways to make the best of your layout with a few simple tricks. Including striking paint colours with a minimalist design is a way of exuding elegance and charm, whilst adding potted plants immediately brightens and brings life to a room. Learn how to save space on your boat with our top tips.

Are you a current boat owner? Take a look at our online portal MyBoat to discover exclusive offers and safely store all your boating information.

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