How to Prepare Your Boat for Spring

With the weather warming up, now’s the time to get that boat out of storage and hit the water. In the fall, we walked you through how to winterize your boat’s electronics; now it’s time to do the opposite. Follow these steps to ensure your boat is in tip-top shape.

1. Uncover your boat.

The first step is self-explanatory — you’ll have to remove your boat cover if you plan to hit the water soon. And while it may be tempting to tear it off in excitement, it’s preferable to roll the cover back slowly and check for mice nests or other evidence of rodents along the way. No matter how careful you were in the covering process, critters have been known to chew their way in — and that’s a discovery best made before you accidentally fling them at the buddy who’s helping you de-winterize.

If your boat was shrink wrapped to seal out the weather (and the critters), you’ll want to carefully remove that and recycle it rather than throw it away. Most marinas will have an area to properly recycle your shrink wrap.

2. Check for any damage that may have occurred over the winter months.

Once you’ve uncovered your boat, you’ll want to do a thorough inspection to ensure everything looks the same as it did when you put it away. Check your cables and wiring for corrosion or any excessive wear that may cause electrical problems on the water.

3. Do some spring cleaning.

Tidy up anything that may have moved or been removed during the winterization process and be sure to get rid of any dirt or dust that accumulated during the months of disuse. Polishing and waxing your boat once it’s clean will not only have it looking spiffy for its debut back on the water, but it’ll also help to protect it and keep it looking nice for years to come. And if you’ve got woodwork on your boat, know that this does require annual maintenance. Depending on the type of marine-grade wood, you may have some varnishing and sealing to do before your boat can make its launch for the season — unless, of course, a major rehaul is on your summer to-do list.

4. Perform regular maintenance.

Remember that your boat has been sitting for months. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s ready to run as is. Instead, take your boat to a trusted marine mechanic to perform preseason preventive maintenance. They’ll help you double check your mechanical systems (never assume hoses haven’t cracked or wiring hasn’t corroded), as well as be able to point out anything you’ve missed in terms of plumbing or fluid levels. It’d be embarrassing to be out with a group of friends for the first time only to realize you never checked your coolant levels or successfully flushed all the antifreeze out from your plumbing system.

5. Reinstall electronics.

If you brought your marine electronics inside for the winter, it’s time to get everything reinstalled. Garmin electronics are intuitive and use color coding for installation but if you aren’t feeling confident, you can always seek some professional help for the reinstallation. Now is also a good time to go through and ensure that your onboard technology is up to date. While Garmin tech is built to last for years, it’s also constantly improving. Check out what the pros are using this season if you’re interested in upping your game!

6. Update your navigation.

Garmin regularly improves our No. 1 cartography with Navionics data that sources new public and private data sources, proprietary surveys and notices to mariners to provide the most up-to-date shorelines, depths, POIs, obstacle locations and more. Before heading out, ensure you update your marine charts and maps with either Garmin Express™ or the ActiveCaptain® app to maximize situational awareness on the water.

With just a few simple tasks, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the season out on the water. Don’t forget to snag the SPF, life jackets and the latest Garmin marine technology on your way to the dock!