BlogMarch 2016

Use This Handy Spring Boat Maintenance Checklist

Use This Handy Spring Boat Maintenance Checklist

By Debbie Hanson

Mar 18, 2016

Using a helpful boat maintenance checklist can make spring boating preparations a whole lot easier.

Using a helpful boat maintenance checklist can make spring boating preparations a whole lot easier. When you use a seasonal boat maintenance checklist, you can just check each task off of your list as it is completed. This will give you the reassurance that you've remembered to take care of every detail so that your boat is safe and running smoothly when boating weather arrives.

While boat maintenance requirements will vary depending on the type of boat you have (always check the owner's manual for your specific boat and engine model) and how often you use it, these are some examples of important maintenance tasks to consider.

  1. Check the fuel system for leaks or damage. Be sure to inspect all hoses, connections and tank surfaces. Replace any components if necessary, and check to be sure that all fittings and clamps are secure.
  2. Check all belts, cables and hoses to make sure that they haven't cracked or become brittle while in storage.
  3. Inspect electrical connections to be sure they are clean, tight and corrosion-free. Have a qualified technician inspect all electrical systems thoroughly if the boat has been in storage for an extended period of time.
  4. Check fluid levels including engine oil, power steering, trim reservoirs and coolant. Change engine oil, oil filter and lubricants if these tasks were not completed prior to winterizing or storing your boat.
  5. Check and replace spark plugs if needed. Spark plugs should be checked about every 100 hours or once a year.
  6. Charge and test your battery to be certain that it will hold a charge using a voltmeter. Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush if needed.
  7. If you have an outboard engine, check to be sure that the lanyard switch stops the engine and is in working order.
  8. Another important item on your boat maintenance checklist is to make sure that the exhaust and ventilation systems are working properly.
  9. Check the steering system for any binding or loose components.
  10. If you have an outboard engine, ensure that the engine is securely attached to the boat transom.
  11. Inspect your propeller(s), prop shafts, seals and zinc anodes. Repair any minor damage or, if necessary, have your propeller replaced by a professional mechanic.
  12. Check your boat hull for blisters or cracks, and make sure your drain plugs are in place. Buy a set of spare drain plugs and keep them in a safe place on your boat.
  13. Inspect all of your boat safety gear. This includes life jackets, fire extinguishers, first aid kit, and distress signals. Take advantage of free safety inspections offered by the US Coast Guard (USCG).

Once you've crossed each item off of your boat maintenance checklist, look for a few different places to fish and boat in your local area. Get ready to make new boating memories with your family this season.

Photo Courtesy of US Coast Guard (USCG)

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.