Spring Checklist | Service Boat for Summer
Back in another life, BAM Marine owned a marina in Chicago. We developed some procedures and a checklist for spring start up/commissioning. Please be careful and use common sense like staying clear of the belts and pulleys or prop if the boat is out of the water.
We hope these helpful tips will help you get you on the water quickly and safely so you can enjoy a full season of boating.
Before starting engine:
- Make sure you have a fully usable fire extinguisher handy
- Service battery
i. Clean & protect terminals
ii. Check electrolyte if applicable
iii. Make sure it’s charged
- Make sure drain plugs are in
- Check oil (you should have changed it last fall)
- Check belts
- If close-cooled check coolant level
- If out of the water hook up water to engine – do not run without water, you will fry our sea water pump!
- Make sure the bilge blower works – and let it run for at least 5 minutes. Make sure it’s blowing the air out through the vent. Many times the hose will have fallen off!
- Start engine – do not rev it up! A little bit above idle speed is OK.
- Immediately look at gauges and make sure you have oil pressure. Next go to the engine and touch the exhaust elbows and see if they are staying cool. If they start to get hot turn off and find out why. Be careful when doing this, if you wait too long and there is a problem they will for sure be hot!! This usually means the sea water pump is not pumping. DO NOT sit at the dash and wait for your temperature gauge to tell you it’s hot. A lot of damage can be done by the time the gauge rises.
- If the exhaust is cooling this means you have water flow. This is a good thing.
- Pull the dipstick and make sure the oil still looks like oil. If the oil starts to look milky it means something went wrong with your winterization and water is somehow making it into the crankcase. If this is the case time to turn everything off and figure out where the leak is.
- If all is good to this point use a flashlight and look around checking for water or oil leaks. Pay special attention to the oil filter.
Head back up to the dash and take another look at your gauges. By now the engine should be getting close to normal temperature. Check the voltmeter and make sure it is showing a charge.
Before heading to the water or leaving the dock, check:
- Bilge pumps & hoses
- Running & navigation lights
- Steering has full motion
- Check shifting