With warm weather making its way ever closer, lots of people are ready to get out onto the water in their boats and personal watercraft! While most boat owners think carefully about storage options and winterization when it’s time to say goodbye to summer, it’s just as important (if not more so) to think carefully about de-winterizing before your first launch in the spring. Follow these tips to make sure your first launch is memorable for all the right reasons!
- Do a complete visual inspection.
First, see how your craft looks overall. Your hull should be free of chips, blisters, and chalky residue. If you have blisters in your hull, repair them. Chalky residue could indicate oxidation, meaning that the gelcoat needs to be repaired. Look for any cracks or chips in your paint and the body of the boat itself to be sure your craft is in tip=top operation shape!
Do a visual inspection of your engine, mechanical panel, and check the status of any trim work. Make sure affixed trim is secure and rust-free. Check your canvas and vinyl for tears, mildew, and dirt. Repair any tears and then clean each with an appropriate cleaner.
Check your windshield wipers, if your craft is so equipped. Replace if necessary and clean your windshield. In order to make certain that your boat has the optimum visual appeal, clean the brightwork and polish! Although this may seem irrelevant, long-term neglect of these components can result in the materials becoming compromised, resulting in later damage and lower craft values.
- De-winterize your engine
This is probably going to take the longest and be very messy! If you’ve run your boat all summer, there will be build up. Have your manufacturer’s manual with you for this process! If you didn’t change the oil at the end of the season last year, do it now. Engine build-up can cause decreased power, corrosion and excessive wear. It can also really take your fuel economy down! Change the oil filters, and the oil in the transmission or outboard motor’s lower unit, too.
Flush the engine’s cooling system, and replace the old antifreeze with a 50/50 mix of coolant and water per the manufacturer’s specs.
Finally, replace your batteries and perform a thorough engine test.
- Check your electronics
GPS, compass, depth finders, and any on-board electronics need to be tested to make sure they are in working order. Repair or replace as necessary.
If you aren’t up to these tasks, we can help you out here at SouthPointe Marinas. Click on the CONTACT link and let us know you need help and we’ll get you scheduled right away – and up to par in plenty of time to enjoy the early part of the season!
Boat show season has begun for the 2013 year and North Carolina’s largest boat show was held in Raleigh Feb. 7 – 10. The mid-Atlantic boat show was held in Charlotte, NC on the same dates.
With more than 150,000 square feet of boat and marine displays and exhibitors, the Raleigh Boat Show featured exhibitions from insurance agency professionals, marinas, and boat sales. These types of shows generally enables potential buyers special off-season pricing and financing that isn’t available in the showroom.
Upcoming boat shows in our area include the Central Carolina Boat & Fishing Expo to be held in Greensboro, NC February 22 – 24, 2013. Please feel free to share your comments and photos below!
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Entertaining the notion of buying a boat? Spending time on the water is an enjoyable and relaxing way of life, and there are things you need to consider when choosing the boat that’s right for you and your family. Continue reading “Tips for Buying the Right Boat” »
Each year thousands of people visit Lake Gaston to enjoy the incredible fishing, boating, and water sports opportunities that our area has to offer. Because Lake Gaston is situated such that it spans areas in both Virginia and North Carolina, we’ve offered the basics of boating regulations here, complete with links to the full information online at each state’s official website. Both states required the use of personal floatation devices, sound devices, fire extinguishing devices, and navigation lights, and some type of boater edcuation certification or course completion, but the regulations differ from state to state.
Required equipment for your boat:
- Your boat MUST have at least one Coast Guard approved life jacket for each occupant of the boat. Be sure to check the devices for appropriate fit, which can usually be found on the tag in the manufacturer’s specifications, and operational condition (no broken hardware or tears, etc.). This tag will also state whether or not the life jacket is an approved personal floatation device.
- All boats over 26′ in length MUST have approved and properly charged fire extinguishers aboard. In addition, all motorboats under 26′ that have any of the following conditions MUST carry fire extinguishers: permanently installed fuel tanks; closed compartments where fuel tanks may be stored; double bottoms not sealed to the hull; closed living spaces; or closed stowage compartment in which combustible or flammable materials may be stowed. Inboard gasoline engines must have USCG, SEA, or UL approved flame arrestors on their carburetors. The backfire flame arrestor must be securely attached to the carburetor.
Visual Distress Signals: All recreational boats 16 feet or greater in length shall be equipped with visual distress signaling devices at all times when operating on coastal waters. This regulation applies to all coastal waters and those rivers 2 miles or more wide at the mouth and up to the first point the river narrows to less than 2 miles. Boats less than 16 feet, manually propelled boats (rowboats, canoes, kayaks, etc.), and open sailboats under 26 feet with no motor, are required to carry only night visual distress signals when operated on coastal waters at night. There are special regulations pertaining to the use of pyrotechnic distress signals that can be found online at Virginia Equipment Regulations.
- Navigation Lights: Recreational boats, while underway, are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility. No other lights shall be exhibited that could impair the visibility of required running lights or impair the visibility of approaching vessels.
Required equipment for your boat:
- Personal Floatation Devices: All recreational vessels must have one Type I, II, or III PFD of a suitable size for each person aboard and each skier being towed. Canoes and kayaks 16 feet in length and over are exempted from the requirements for carriage of the additional Type IV PFD. Sailboards, racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes and racing kayaks are exempted from the requirements for carriage of any type PFD. No person may use a recreational vessel unless each child under 13 years old on board is wearing an appropriate PFD approved by the Coast Guard.
- Fire Extinguishers: All vessels must carry fire extinguishers unless the craft has a built-in fire extinguishing system.
- Sound-Producing Devices: Sound-producing devices include horns or whistles and bells. Vessels less than 12meters (39.4 feet) in length, while not required to have a horn or whistles and bells, shall be equipped with some means of making an efficient sound signal.
- Navigation Lights: Vessels operating at night are required to display navigation
lights between sunset and sunrise.
The full link to North Carolina’s Vessel Operator Guide can be accessed by clicking HERE