First Spring Cruise-What can go wrong?
Do you have a checklist when you prepare for your first trip of the year away from the dock? If not, here are some things to help you.
-If you have a lake water system, you will need to crawl through the hull, turning on the valves to all the exterior water spickets. Before turning on the water pump, turn off each outside spicket valve, which were left in open position after they were winterized. Then turn water pump on, and place a bucket beneath spickets turning valve on to clear out the pink anti-freeze. Continue to each outside water spicket. If you have a slide, turn on water valve to it as well.
-Check all inverter, house, and engine batteries for swelling and make sure water levels are full.
-When was the last time you replaced engine and generator impeller. They have been dormant all winter, and can become brittle. If they are more than a couple of years old, expect them to cause you issues sooner, rather than later.
-Make sure all hoses are properly connected on I/O engines, and that water intake valve to generator has been turned on.
-It’s best to open engine hatches during first start up of the season. Check for fuel and water leaks.
-Immediately after starting generator, check water discharge flow. It should be a solid steady stream. If not, shut generator down, check water intake valve is on and inspect or replace impeller.
-If your boat is equipped with thrusters, try them first while still tied to the dock.
-Keep a close eye on engine temperature and oil pressure gauges after start up. Continue to watch these gauges as you depart the dock. They will alert you to water pump issues quickly, before it can harm your engine.
-As you untie the boat for departure, inspect all dock lines to insure they are still capable of keeping your boat secure in spring winds. Chances are at least a couple will need replaced.
-With spring rains, your lake or river will most likely have plenty of floating debris. Stay alert as you cruise along so you don’t get surprised with a prop strike.
Hopefully all will go well, and this will be the first of many enjoyable cruises this summer.
by Tom Miller