Whether you own a small vessel or a comfy cabin cruiser, when summer arrives and it is time to get your boat back on the water, you need to be sure it is ready to go. No boat operator wants a dead battery or sputtering engine on that first day on the water. Getting prepared is more than washing off dirt and dust. It means inspecting all systems to ensure they are in good working condition to prevent accidents. We give you 5 tips on getting your boat ready for summer and 5 ways to prevent boating accidents while cruising.
5 Tips to Get Your Boat Ready This Summer
1. Fluids, belts, hoses and control cables
Inspect and top off all fluids such as gear case oil, engine oil, antifreeze, power trim and power steering. Check engine hoses and the belts, looking for any sign of corrosion and to make sure they are tight and secure. Make sure the belts fit firmly around the pulleys. Check control cables for any crack or swelling. This might be a sign they are not safe. If you are not familiar with these items, schedule a meeting with a qualified boat technician.
2. Get a professional tune-up
A tune-up is a must if you are serious about maximizing fuel efficiency. Boats that are well tuned are more gas-efficient than those that are not. Therefore, keep on top of frequent maintenance, including filter and oil changes before you take your boat out of storage. As part of a tune-up, the mechanic will test the compression, inspect the seals and water pump, check warning alarms, test the spark plugs, and carry out any other necessary services.
3. Inspect electrical systems
Unlike boats manufactured in the 70s and early 80s, modern boats are loaded with all kinds of electric and electronic equipment. To prepare your electrical connections for the cruise, check the system for any short circuits by inspecting for lose wires, frayed wiring, or compartments that become frayed, as well as electrical panels whose back is exposed to the locker’s interior. In addition, test the battery radio, compass, GPS, depth finder to ensure they are working well.
4. Inspect the filters
Diesels require loads of clean air to run smoothly. If dust enters the engine, it can affect the compression. A faulty compression will not burn diesel fuel, and this will spit out your exhaust as a thick, black smoke. Take the filter out and replace it before the summer season starts. It is one of the most ignored components because it is often fitted on side of the engine. In a pinch, remove the filter and tap it on all sides to remove dust and dirt.
5. Inspect the propellers
Before you start your cruise, make sure to inspect your boat’s propeller. The condition of the propeller determines how fast you cruise, how long the engine will last, how smoothly the boat rides, and how much fuel the engine burns. Make sure your propeller is well secured, and replace bearings when required. Very few boat operators or boat dealers can fix propellers on their own as it is too complex. If you don’t know how to fix it, an expert in the field will help in repairing it.
5 Ways to Prevent Boating Accidents While Boating
Boating on the open water is an excellent way to spend your day with family and friends. However, without safe practices, fatal boating accidents can occur. Whether you’re a pro or a newbie getting into the field, it’s important to follow safety rules while on the water. Here are 5 ways to prevent boating accidents while boating.
1. Understand the law
First, you need to realize that each state has its own boating laws. In Rhode Island for instance, no one under the influence of alcohol or drugs can operate a boat. A boater must also ensure that his/her watercraft is licensed and meets the state’s safety requirements. A person convicted of boating an unregistered watercraft will be subjected to a fine of not less than $250 or lose the right to operate the boat for up to 45 days. By understanding the laws for the waterway you’re operating on and complying with those rules, you will navigate your boat safely. Should you get into a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should contact one of our lawyers and ask for assistance
2. Be alert while cruising
Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in deadly boating accidents. According to the American Red Cross, two-thirds of boating accident victims are under the influence of alcohol. In actual fact, 35% of all cruising accidents are directly related to alcohol. You can find additional statistics about boating accidents in Rhode Island here. Operating your vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can lead to fatal accident. To prevent boating accidents, you need to be fully alert and pay close attention to your surroundings.
3. Load correctly
To prevent the boat from capsizing, it is advised to load the boat appropriately. First and foremost, ensure that your watercraft is properly secured to the harbor before loading. Additionally, make sure that all passengers on board have life jackets or personal floatation devices before boarding the boat. It’s vital to make sure that the weight is evenly distributed throughout your boat. All occupants must stay clear from the side of the boat to prevent the vessel from capsizing.
4. Follow navigational cues
If you’re planning a boating excursion, ensure that you know how to steer the boat and follow navigational cues. While you are equipped with a high tech GPS device, there can be times when technology will fail and you’ll need to steer the traditional way. It is therefore important to learn the meaning of beacons and buoys so you can prevent collision. Larger vessels can’t turn as fast as smaller boats so it’s crucial to follow the right boating lanes if they’re in place.
5. Take boating courses
Undertaking a boating safety class is an excellent way to make sure that you prevent accidents on the open water. These courses teach experienced and novice boaters the dos and don’ts of safety on the open water. The courses cover all aspects of boating safety, safety equipment, navigation, boating problems, handling skills, proper boat anchoring, to mention a few. The most popular courses have from 6-13 lessons to give a foundation of boat cruising and safety instruction.