Whoa, Is that the Sun?!

Start your engines with pre-season maintenance tips from BOATsmart!!

Ontario has the worst and the best of it for boaters. Our summers are spectacularly sun-shiny and looking at a map of Ontario is like looking at a piece of art. The paper version of Ontario is a gorgeous crisscrossing of channels and inlets, linked by miles and miles of blue.

eagle island nc
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young boy fishing at sunset - rs

Ontario winters, though, see a different shade of blue. You know the colour I’m talking about – the ominous blue of the air-tight tarp that emerges in October to suck the life out of your boat’s seasonal career. "Tarp blue’"is every raccoon’s favorite colour – it shines like a beacon in the frosty white of winter, letting every critter in the neighborhood know that it’s time to set-up camp in the bow, have babies in the stow-away, or maybe make a toilet of your driver’s seat. Does this sound familiar?

So, stress less about working on that bathing-suit-body and instead, focus on something that you CAN immediately maintain–your boat! Besides, it’s not just housekeeping, it’s the law–your boat is required to be in good, operating condition when it hits the water.

BOATsmart! ’s Boat Maintenance Checklist:

  • Check the hull and bilge for any damage, including cracks and leaks (fiberglass cracks can be hard to spot!)

  • Take care of the motor by checking the:

           - Shafts

           - Propellers

           - Nuts and pins

  • Check the operation of all your boat’s systems including: fuel, electrical and cooling systems

  • Check the condition of hoses and lines and replace any that are worn, broken or cracked

  • Check the condition of the throttle control

  • Check all electrical connections–clean and tighten any corroded or loose connections

  • Check that all the navigation lights are in working condition

  • Inspect and clean the engine’s flame arrestor with soap and water

  • Check and replace engine oil (if necessary)

  • Check and replace air and fuel filters (if necessary)

  • With the engine running, check the operation of all gauges, as well as the alternator, for charging capacity

  • Check the condition of the battery (a fully-charged battery should hold its charge for at least 24 hours)

  • Find critter residue, or worse—an angry raccoon? Get the interior professionally cleaned. Trust us; it’s not something that you want to do yourself!

high speed cruising

So yeah, Ontario boat owners have bigger concerns in the spring than scooping dog poo off the grass and needing to shed a few pounds.

The inactivity of an Ontario winter takes a major toll on your boat. Fluids dry up. Fuel gets stale. Batteries discharge. But giving your boat a little pre-season love can help you find and fix any issues that might keep you off the water. 

Like anything else, you can pay a pro to service your boat. So if you’re not sure you’re up to the task, just get that baby serviced. Don’t hit the water until she’s’ ready to rock and roll.

And the same goes for you–do you have your Pleasure Craft Operator Card? Canadians are required to have a boat license if their boat has a motor. Visit BoatSmartExam.com to take the test and get on the water with confidence. Your boat might not be good for life, but your card will be! Get certified today!

About Lindsey Jeremiah

Lindsey lives on the shores of Stoney Lake, next door to Irwin Inn, where the Irwin family built the original lodge back in 1947. Lindsey is an outdoor girl with an MA in Communications. She grew up in Ontario’s cottage country and after finishing school and trying Toronto on for size, she opted to return to Ontario’s ‘lake country’. Lindsey now works as the Educational Program Coordinator for BOATsmart!, Canada’s leader in Boating Safety Education–so even when at the office, she’s thinking about boating!

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