Boating 101: Prep for a Stress-Free Boating Season

To find out a few tips for how to get boating early this year, and how to keep boating all season long without any breakdowns, we turned to Bentley Collins, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Sabre Yachts. His advice may help all of you get out on the water now, during the wonderfully long days of late spring in New England.

Here’s what Bentley had to say:

I have been boating all my life and most of my boating has been done where the seasons dictate spring launch and the preparations that go along with it. In that regard, I am a contrarian.

My preference is to start boating early, mainly because the tail end of my boating season is cut off with boat show activities in the fall. My preparation time is in the fall, just after my boat is hauled for the all-too-long winter. That’s when I do the bottom paint and complete all of my spring prep.

Around the 15th of April I launch my boat and enjoy some spectacular spring time boating while others are still in the parking lot covered in bottom paint dust. I enjoy strolling by and saying hello as these other boaters look at me through white slits in their otherwise “blue man group” faces.

Anyway, back to prepping the boat. I am always amazed at how boaters try to save money by skimping on the least expensive things. Here are some tips:

Water Impellers — Even though raw water impellers may be costly, can that possibly compare to losing an engine mid-season or having to be towed to port when an engine overheats? Change your impellers annually.

Belts — I believe in changing belts frequently so as to avoid summer breakdowns

Zinc — There is no such thing as a zinc that “still looks OK”. Replace them and don’t risk damage to your boat’s running gear.

Fuel Filters — Fuel filters should be changed every 100 hours or more if practical. Again, breakdowns in mid-season are no fun!

Fuel — Always top up your fuel tank. Even if you are betting on the cost of diesel fuel going down next week, it doesn’t pay to run around with a half-empty tank. Condensation and air in your tank allow algae to grow, and algae will ruin a day on the water by clogging filters and injectors. Top up your fuel as frequently as possible.

Batteries — If your batteries are three to five years old, depending on the type, chances are you are going to run into an issue during the season. Don’t wait for them to go bad and lose time on the water. Replace them as recommended by the battery supplier.

….and that’s how I roll.

**Article originally ran May, 2013**