How to Get Boat Ready for Spring

By Andy Whitcomb

Mar 14, 2023

It is time to get boat ready for spring. One way to approach the process is to work the winterizing checklist in reverse. Here’s where to begin.

Early spring can be a great time to go fishing. As water warms, lethargic fish become more active and are hungry. Therefore, you will want to be prepared to join in on the action by getting boat ready for spring. One way to approach how to get boat ready for spring might be to get out your winterizing checklist, and work through it in reverse.


1. Remove Boat Cover
If the boat was covered, remove it, at least temporarily, and inspect. Ideally, you have peeked on the boat’s status over winter, but it is easy to forget or might have been in remote storage. Start at one end and check the entire boat. What is the general condition? Any visible damage from weather, animals, etc?

2. Check Safety Equipment First
While preparing your boat for spring, I recommend checking all of the safety equipment early in the process. PFDs still in good condition? How old is that fire extinguisher? Are any of the ropes showing signs of wear and fraying?

3. Inspect for Minor Repairs
Put in boat plug, attach hoses that were removed, and check for loose connections. Be sure to check for any cracks in hoses. If they are starting to become brittle, replace prior to refilling anything.

4. Closely Inspect the Trailer Tires
When getting your boat ready for spring, you have to be able to get the boat to and from the water with confidence. How does that spare tire look? When was the last time the wheel bearings were examined?

5. Check Electronics and Batteries
Charge batteries and test all electronics. Do not forget to test the trailer lights, my nemesis.

6. Test the Motor
If possible, when getting boat motor ready for spring, use an intake plug and water hose to test the motor in the driveway, rather than learning the hard way and having any congestion issues at the boat ramp.

7. Update Paperwork
Is the boat registration is up to date? Are there any launch permits required? And, you have a 2023 fishing license, right?

8. Prepare Your Tackle
If the process of getting boat ready for spring is complete, get your fishing tackle ready. If you are like me, you have been fishing some shore locations already but the lesser used, often overlooked rod and reel combos can end up costing you a big fish.


It has been a relatively mild winter here in Pennsylvania, so a few boats were already on the water in February. However, as you get boat ready for spring, keep that cover handy in case we get one of those late season cold blasts!

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.