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Is Your Fishing Boat Ready for Action? Follow These Easy Checks

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Ensure that your fishing boat is in top condition when you are ready for that long awaited first run after its winter storage. These simple, but key, preventative maintenance checks will make sure your days on the water are trouble free and allow you to focus on your main objective - catching fish.

Obviously, the batteries need to be operating effectively as they are the heart of the electrical systems on the boat. Besides their main function in providing the energy for the starter motor, they run a multitude of on board appliances and accessories.

Four Step Battery Check

1. Brush the battery terminals with a wire brush to clean away the accumulated dust, grease and acid film. Then apply a paste made from baking soda to neutralize the acid.

2. Remove covers and check the water level in the cells. If low or empty, top up with distilled water. Tap water contains minerals that can harm the internal plates. Distilled water is inexpensive and readily available at hardware stores or chemists

3. Ensure that the battery is fully charged, but not overcharged. Overcharging the battery drastically reduces its lifespan as it boils away the acid.

If you do not have your own battery charger, many auto or boat repairs stores will test them and charge them for very reasonable rates.

4. Be sure the battery is secure. Tie it down firmly with heavy duty, non-corrosive ties.

Engine Assessment Procedure

Follow these simple steps:

  • Place the engine in the up position and check the tilt and power trim.
  • Pull out the plug to check the level of the reservoir oil.
  • Remove the propeller and make sure there is no fishing line or other debris to interfere with the connections.
  • Tighten the propeller nuts to the recommended torque in the manual.

Electronics Checks

The generator, air-conditioner and the wash-down system, although not critical, all need to work effectively for the best boating experience. Check that these system components and fittings are operating as expected before setting out.

A broken livewell pump fitting could allow the bilge to fill or an electrical fire could result from faulty wiring.

Tools and Tackle Inspection

Your fishing boat is nothing without its tools of trade. Besides your rods and reels, check your supply of other essentials that contribute to making make your fishing life easier. Ensure you have snips, gloves and a hook removal tool as well as an extremely sharp knife for all kinds of jobs including bait cutting and filleting fish. A metal tape measure will help you to make sure your catch meets the legal size limits. Tackle wise – you should factor in some swivels and wire leaders to prevent sharp toothed species like mackerel and shark from biting off sinkers.

Remember to give your bait storage boxes a good clean out for a fresh start to the season.

Brush Up on Safety Essentials

The regulations regarding safety vary according to the type of your boat and the different state authorities.

However, it is essential that you are well acquainted with the safety rules for recreational boats that apply to your individual situation. At a minimum you need to ensure that your fire extinguishers and flares are fully serviced and not past their expiry dates.. You also need to determine that there are adequate life jackets for the number of passengers that may be on board and they are in good condition.

Don't Overlook Your Trailer

Make sure that the tyres are fully inflated and check the joints and welds. A little rust is to be expected, particularly with a sea going fishing craft. Check to determine if any rust is simply cosmetic or potentially some more serious structural damage.

Finally, when your boat comes out of its winter storage, it deserves, a quick rinse over at the very least, to prepare it for all the fishing action ahead.

For more information about boat maintenance, contact a company like Nautical Marine - Sorrento