How To Prepare Your Boat for Spring

Item # X-HT-300099

As the signs of spring start creeping up, it's time to start thinking about getting your boat ready for the new season, too. It's true that a well-winterized vessel will require less work to get back out on the water. Most people choose to do the majority of their checks and servicing before putting their boat away for the winter. You can see our winterization tips in our "How to Winterize Your Sailboat" post (#X-HT-300108). Regardless, outfitting your boat for the spring will also require a series of careful checks. Here is a list of tasks to be sure to remember when prepping your boat for the water this season.

Tips for prepping your boat for spring

Before starting any work, check your owner’s manual for any boat-specific tasks to be completed. Instructions from the owner’s manual are always a must-do! Then get ready to do some inspecting.

Inspect, Clean & Repair Canvas: Take a good look at all of your canvas goods. This includes: bimini, dodger, enclosure panels, and cushions. Check for any loose threads or stitching. If any stitching is found to be loose, this should be repaired before being reinstalled on the boat. Repair any rodent damage and patch any worn areas of canvas from underneath with Shelter-Rite Vinyl. Sweep off other canvas projects and clean any clear vinyl. We recommend using Imar Yacht Soap Concentrate on clear vinyl along with the Protective Polish, and Protective Cleaner.

If the canvas itself is dirty, wash it off with an appropriate cleaner like 303 Fabric/Vinyl Cleaner and re-treat with a fabric guard such as 303 Fabric Guard. Waterproofing canvas is best done off the boat because the chemicals in Fabric Guard can damage gelcoat surfaces. Be sure to follow the directions as listed on the label when using 303 Fabric Guard.

Clean all your canvas before each new sailing season!

Rearrange the Cabin: Right any cushions that were turned up for ventilation, close cabinets, and clean up mothballs (if any were used). Check the cabin for insects and rodents. In the galley, refill the propane tank, and check and freshen the refrigerator and stove.

Fill Gas Tank: Generally, diesel tanks are filled with fresh fuel before being put away. Gasoline tanks however, are usually drained so be sure to fill up the tank.

Summerize the Engine: Inboard and Outboard engines require different winterization steps, and most likely will need to be summerized in the spring. Check your owner’s manual to see what needs to be done to have your particular engine in running order.

Replace Batteries: Recharge and return any batteries that were removed in the fall back onboard the boat. Also return any safety equipment such as dock lines, flares, fire extinguishers, and flotation devices as well as any marine electronics that did not winter on the boat.

Inspect & Repair Sails & Rigging: Lay out all of your sails and check for any rodent or insect damage from storage. If repairs from the previous season were not made before winter, those repairs will want to be addressed now. Be sure to watch our Sail Repair Video Series (#X-HT-200695) for a more in-depth look at common sail repairs. Be sure to inspect all running rigging and make sure it is in good working order.

Clean Thoroughly: Even a covered boat can get a little dusty sitting on land all winter. Take this time to give your boat a thorough cleaning inside and out. Give the hull, deck and topsides a general cleaning and put on a good coat of wax. Clean and polish metal, clean windows and hatches, and clean and oil any teak. Make sure drains and scuppers are clear and clean out the bilges.

Re-stock: Spring is a good time to take inventory. Check the spare parts and tools you have on board, and replace as need be. Make sure registration is current and onboard as well.

The key to a successful launch in the spring is giving your boat a good once over with a keen eye. Then you should be all set to enjoy the season!

Do you have any spring rituals? Leave us a comment and tell us about them.