As I sit down and write this, it is 27 degrees and cloudy but don’t let that fool you because Spring is upon us! As of two days ago, the ice at our ramp has drifted off and broken up into small icebergs floating off into the main lake. The canvasbacks, bluebills, redheads, mergansers and other diving ducks are swinging back through the area in full plumage. All of these indicators point to the fact that boating season is just around the corner! The season seems to creep up on a lot of us after the long winters, but don’t let that be you. Are you getting your Spring boat prep in line? Are you in your marinas schedule to be launched? Is your dock paid for? In this blog, I will talk about some things to think about before your boat is back in the water!
A Beautiful Spring sight at Clemons Boats, beautiful bluebills!
FIRST THINGS FIRST – THE LAUNCH SCHEDULE
The first thing to get in line for launch is….you guessed it….the LAUNCH! This will depend on how you boat but many boaters use a marina to hoist, wrap, store, and launch their boat. If this is the case, you had better call them NOW! You do not want to wait for that first beautiful day in May and ask, “Can You put my boat in tomorrow?”. You will likely get two answers; Number one – “we will do our best”. Number 2 – “sorry!”. These both generally mean you aren’t getting your boat launched anytime soon! Even if you do the work yourself, you will need some things done before launch. Make sure you are ready! Being in the boat business, I can tell you that when Spring gets sprung, we get slammed with work in a very short time. We have ways to minimize this, but the fact of the matter is that it is inevitable that the early bird catches the worm. The earlier you get into the marinas schedule, the better off you will be come launch time. Most places have “summerization” sheets that enable you to select what services you need before launching your boat, get these filled out early and sent back so you aren’t caught without a boat on one of those beautiful Spring days! If you do this yourself, start early to help with any new issues!
Don’t let this be you, get things set up so you don’t need to pray!
You have your boat in the schedule to be launched, or you will launch it yourself. What next? Now it is time to consider what needs done prior to launch or anything you want fixed or added to your boat. The following is a list of questions to ask yourself to help you along:
* Was my boat working properly in the fall?
* If it wasn’t, what are issues that need resolved before launch?
* Did my service provider mention anything that needed attention?
* How long has it been since my systems have been checked or serviced?
* If docked, how is my bottom protection looking?
* How is my prop looking? Should I send it for repair? Get a new one? Do I have a spare?
* What does my boat need to make it a more enjoyable hobby? Trim tabs? GPS? Etc
This is obviously a very vague list, but it should get your mind working and thinking of things that may need addressed. Most service shops do this for you and send you a list of suggested and/or needed repairs and changes, but it is up to you to make sure this is done and in the schedule far prior to launch! Some of these may take a while to complete, and every service center has a Spring jam that makes surprises difficult to manage!
Once you have your launch scheduled and any service items that you know need done in the works, it is time to think about the looks of your toy! Most boaters would agree that a sharp looking boat is good for the soul! Some people love to do this kind of tinkering themselves and enjoy this kind of work. Others will want a professional to take care of this for them, and again, that means you need to schedule it NOW! I strongly suggest you get this into the schedule far in advance for a couple reasons; #1- Any detailing is like service work and will get severely backed up when the Spring rush hits. #2- Where your boat is stored and how long it will take to get to the boat will be crucial! If your boat is shrink wrapped and outside, the weather will play a role in this which makes matters worse. If you have a newer boat that isn’t oxidized, you can likely get away with a hand clean and wax or use a low speed orbital to detail the boat. If you have an older oxidized boat, that is when the work happens! You may need a 1, 2, or 3 stage buff and then a wax which can be a lot of work and not near as simple. Check on your boats status now if you haven’t already, to ensure that you can get the proper detailing done before launch. It is the right time of year to get this work done so when your launch date gets here, you aren’t scrambling! We will do a blog on the ins and outs of detailing within 2 weeks to help and do it yourself boaters, stay tuned!
You are almost there now! You have any nagging service issues in the schedule or repaired. You have checked all the systems or had them checked and they are all a go. Any new accessories are installed. You have looked things over on the cosmetic side and she looks great. It is now time to make sure your way to the water is ready! If you are a trailer boater, you need to make sure your trailer is in the right condition for use. This could be lumped into the servicing section, but obviously you want to be safe when on the road with your boat behind you. This means you need to check your bearings, tires, lights, brakes, etc. This is an often overlooked item, but can be a serious issue if not made right.
If you dock your boat, you have other things to look at. If the dock is at a marina, you need to call and ask them when the dock will be in! Some docks are in at the first sight of open water, and some take a while longer. Make sure that you know when it will be in, and make sure if you have a new boat that the same dock will work. If not, you may need to switch which needs to be done sooner rather than later. Do you need a bigger dock? Do you now need shore power? Would you like to move closer to the entrance? Do you want a wall dock instead of a floater? These are all questions to ask yourself now. If you own your own dock, this is the time to check on the dock itself. This could be anything from checking whether your power source is working, is your water turned on, is the dock leaking, do you need new dock posts, is your dock box ready, etc. All of these things can slow down your launch time which is the last thing you want after a long winter!
If you rack your boat, than this one is easy! Make sure you have it reserved and in the schedule to be put in the rack, if it isn’t already there! I will assume most people reading this don’t own the rack, so this is a function of calling your provider and making sure you are set and in the schedule.
TIME FOR THE WATER
Once you have all of the above in line, it is time to get all of the small things in line. This is a great time to look at your safety equipment. Do you need new life jackets? Is your throw ring in good shape? How about your fire extinguisher? Check all of this important gear, as you do not want to be caught without it, especially when the water is still so cold. Safety on the water is always important, but in the Spring and Fall is is even more important! Do you have some extra gear lube on the boat, just in case? Extra oil? Do you have your registration on board for the season and is your sticker valid? How about your mooring lines, do you need or want new ones? Is your shore power cord working properly? There are many things to think about here, but the important thing is to make sure you are prepared ahead of schedule to help alleviate any mishaps when it is time. I know I have done this myself before, and got to the dock only to find for one reason or the other that I am not ready! Check all of your odds and ends and make sure they are as ready for the water as you are.
The above is just the tip of the iceberg as to all of the things to think about before Spring launch gets here. There are plenty of things to think about, and if you are like me, you would rather have someone else worry about it! If that is the case for you, I would suggest calling your service provider NOW to get all of this arranged and taken care of for you. Having a professional take care of these details is a way to ensure you are ready for the water when you want to be, just make sure and give them the time to make it happen, especially if your boat needs some work. We are already getting backed up at Clemons Boats, so if you have a boat here I suggest you get a hold of Michelle ASAP at 419-684-5365! If you stored with us and are within 30 minutes of our marina, remember that we also deliver the boat to your dock so we need to have all of this information now so we can ensure proper delivery time for you. The last thing we want, is to have to say “we will try”. We want to be able to say “DONE”! Please let your service provider know now to be sure you are on the water on time! If nothing else, I hope this has helped put a bit of urgency in the process of getting your boat in the water and ready for the upcoming boating season. What are you waiting for!? Until next time….
See you on the water,
Clemons Boats - Life is better on a boat!