Steps For Summer Boating in Michigan
Here comes the 4th of July weekend and everyone and their brother will have one of their toys in the water. And it doesn't matter if it's a Waverunner, Pontoon or Cruiser here's a few things you'll need to do before heading out to the late.
You don't want to be that guy whose boat won't start holding up the other boats ready to go.
Summer Watercraft Checklist:
#1 BATTERY - You need Power or your motor won't start unless your batteries are charged. Did you have them on a trickle-charger all winter? Easy way tell on my battery charger - the amps go down to zero for a charged battery. Check the connections on your battery too, clean them up and put a little marine grease on them.
#2 GAS - Did you put additives in your gas for storage? If not you'll want to add one before you try and start the boat. STA-BIL and SEAFOAM gas treatments will mix with any water that's gotten into your tank and not harm your motor.
#3 FUEL FILTER - take a look at your fuel filter to see if there is anything in the gas. Real Easy check that will save you time. My gas looks a little cloudy. Use additives above.
#4 CHECK THE OIL - most newer 4-stroke motors have a dipstick just like your car. Nice my mechanic puts the date of last oil change on my boat 9-19 so my motor should be good. Now also check your lower unit oil as well - if it's cloudy it needs to be changed.
Now that you have power, good gas and oil and your motor starts it's time to check everything else.
#5 ELECTRONICS (Boats) - make sure all your switches work. Does the Horn work - mine didn't a wire came loose - easy fix. Does your bilge pump work - good. Also check the radio you need some music. Check your Depthfinder/GPS.
#6 STEERING (Personal Watercraft) - Make sure your Jetski, Waverunner or Sea-Doo. Get up on your seat and check to see that your your personal watercraft steers easily. If it's tight make sure to grease it before heading out. As you know bearing able to safely steer away from objects matters for safety.
#7 PROP (Boats) - Does it spin freely? Is it damaged? Also check to see if your Propeller Cotter pin isn't rusty. A good rule of thumb is to start the season with a new one. On this boat it has a safety lock so you can't steal the prop. If you've installed one of these you're good.
#8 CLEANING - See attached pictures of cleaning products to clean the boat. Boat Wash-N-Shine, Hull Cleaner for any mold or tougher stains, Rubbing Compound & Restorer Wax to get it shiny and then even sell a Rub Rail Restorer - which is really good to put on before the summer sun.
#9 TIRES (Trailer) - Check the air pressure in your tires. Looks like one of mine was low and it was...this easy step will save the hassle of changing a flat on the way to the lake.
#10 LIGHTS (Trailers) - Hook up the trailer to the truck and check the lights. Put your Emergency Hazard Flashing lights on to start. Then have someone try brake lights and turn indicators. Check the running lights on your boat too. You never know when you may get caught out after dark.
#11 SAFETY - Going out on Lake Michigan - check the expiration of your flares. How do your Life Jackets and Throw Cushion look. Remember on your Waverunner you always have to wear a life jacket for everyone on the craft. Remember it could save your life?
Now you're ready to go. I know it may irritate the neighbors, but put the water earmuffs on your motor and fire it up the Waverunner.
Last thing don't pull this common rookie mistake- put the Boat Plug In! My Waverunner has two!