Annual Maintenance and Safety Checks Ensure Optimal Boating All Season
Sea Tow Services International, Inc., the nation’s leading on-water marine assistance provider, is pleased to share tips in preparation for this spring, when many boaters put their vessels back in the water.
The annual U.S. marine industry expenditure for boats and related services was $56.7 billion in 2021, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The general rule of thumb is that annual maintenance for a used boat is approximately 10% of the boat’s cost; for a new boat, it’s 2% of the boat’s cost.
For maximum safety and performance, consumer boating resource Discover Boating recommends annual inspections for all boats. While there are a few items that may require professional attention, most ongoing maintenance can easily be handled by the owner.
“It is imperative to take the time on an annual basis to perform maintenance and safety checks on your boat,” said Sea Tow President Kristen Frohnhoefer. “The spring season is an optimal time for an overall maintenance check. Whether boat owners are new to the water or seasoned mariners, maintenance ― on boats old AND new ― is critical and ensures that everyone on board can enjoy a memorable boating experience.”
Following are Sea Tow’s top tips in preparation for the upcoming boating season:
- Check renewals, insurance, memberships, and marina facility checks. Boaters should ensure that their state registration and boat insurance policy are current and valid. If the boat is docked at a marina, investigate to learn if any changes have been made to marina policies including storm procedures. This is also a good time to renew a Sea Tow® membership.
- Inspect boat trailers. If the boat will be transported by a trailer, check the trailer to ensure it’s in its best condition. This includes proper tire inflation, greased wheel bearings, cleaned and sprayed light connections, and topped off brake fluid. Rinse boat trailers after every use and keep the brake fluid reservoir topped off. This is critical to preventing saltwater corrosion.
- Inspect the boat for any damage that may have occurred during storage. This is the time to address any peeling paint, damage to the hull, etc. Also, do a deep clean of the boat’s interior. Mold and mildew can grow on boat’s interior vinyl. Whenever possible, choose an organic product or one labeled as non-toxic to marine and aquatic life. A cost-effective alternative is a mild mixture of bleach and water.
- Check that all electronics are functioning properly. Turn on items including the radio, navigation, freshwater systems, lights, depth sounder and chart plotter. Replace or remediate any electronics that are in poor condition.
- Once in the water, do an engine check. Start the engine and listen for any unusual noises. Make sure a strong flow of water is being pumped from the tell-tale. If there are any issues, stop the engine and visually inspect for blockage or damage. It’s also important to clean out the fuel filter and spark plugs and check the engine’s strainer for debris. Ensure the scuppers are clear, and take the time to check out anything that sounds loose or appears shaky. Tighten any guardrails, fishing rod holders or storage compartments.
- Ensure safety equipment is up to date and that correct quantities are on board. This includes life jackets for each passenger, a fire extinguisher that is not expired, medical kit with sunscreen, and extra drinking water.
About Sea Tow Services International, Inc.
Sea Tow Services International Inc., better known as Sea Tow®, has been the innovative and premier leader of on-water assistance since 1983. Servicing the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, members are provided with a 24/7 connection with Coast Guard-licensed captains. The pioneering concept, founded by Captain Joseph Frohnhoefer, was established in Southold, NY when the United States Coast Guard ceased response to non-emergency assistance calls. In 2023, Sea Tow is celebrating its 40th anniversary, marking four decades of boater assistance, safety and support.
In addition to on-water assistance, the franchise network handles salvage and recovery missions, and responds to natural disasters, environmental hazards and oil spill cleanups.
Visit seatow.com to learn more or follow along on Facebook and Instagram.