It’s spring in southern New England and there are the usual frenetic swings of weather – sharp winds from the north with dawn below freezing, then a warmer westerly buffeting the docks and heaping up water in the marshes. The woodpile is stubborn with last night’s frozen sleet, but on the sunlit side of the fence crocuses start pushing their shoots up next to the windbreak.
Within a week or two, all the white shrink-wrappings and tattered blue tarps covering the boats will suddenly look out of date, wrong, misplaced. They’re no longer protections – they’re obstructions. We’re itchy to get under them. Sure, it might still snow, but Mother Nature won’t really mean it. So, the wrappers finally come off and we see the objects of our affection again after the long winter exile. It’s a nice moment. It might even be the one peculiar bliss that northern boat people can claim over those lucky enough to be able to run their boats year-round.
But seasons or no seasons, sooner or later everybody has to get down to the business of maintenance. Boats.com and colleague site BoatTrader.com have accumulated some good articles on the subject, so without further ado here’s some solid spring commissioning advice for those who are about to pull back those covers.
Uncover it, clean it, hit the basics
- 12-Step Pre-Season Prep Commissioning tips for small boats and runabouts, in a nutshell.
- Easy Cleaning: A Lazy Man’s Guide to Spring Cleaning Which cleaner to use on which piece of gear, from bunk cushions to fenders to plastic portholes.
Hit that gelcoat
- Wax vs. Polish: Which Shines Best?
- Gelcoat Maintenance: Shiny Side Up
- Final Finish: Make Your Gelcoat Gleam
Check and double-check the systems
- Is Your Boat Ready for the New Boating Season? An insurance man’s advice about spring prep.
- Top Five Spring Outfitting Mistakes
- Ethanol and Water in Fuel
Work up the wood
Protect against corrosion underwater
Emergency gear run-through
For a general, all-in-one list, read Get Your Powerboat Ready for Spring: 31 Hot Tips.
See you in the boatyard, and on the water. Fair winds this spring!