Your Ultimate Preseason Boating Checklist

Post by - Published on 05/08/24 4:00 AM

IMG_6811For many boaters located in seasonal climates, May marks the start of another summer on the water. I am one of those boaters, and I have spent the last five-or-so-weeks grinding away in the boatyard, preparing my old sailboat for her 57th season (boatyard selfie to prove it!).

As I tie up all my loose ends, I always find myself asking: "Am I forgetting something?!". So, to help stay organized, I created the ultimate boating checklist that combines all my scattered notes into one. For anyone who is getting ready to launch, or getting organized  for another summer of FUN on the water - this list is a great resource. 

You can read the checklist below, and also download a printable version here. You will find two lists - one catered to vessels with outboard engines, and one for vessels with inboard engines. I modified my personal list to make it more universal to all boats of different shapes and sizes. That being said, every boat is different, and each system requires special attention! Feel free to print out a checklist and add your own modifications and additions to the back. Good luck this preseason!

Table of Contents

For the hull
On deck 
Below deck 
Inboard engines
Outboard engines
Safety equipment 
For sailboats
Download printable checklists
More preseason resources

Your Ultimate Preseason Boating Checklist

For the hull
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Check hull for damage and repair
Replace zincs
Check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop
Check rudder and fittings
Sand / reapply antifouling paint

On deck
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Check stanchions, pulpits and lifelines
Check portlights for leaks
Inspect anchor and ground tackle
Commission dinghy 

Below deck
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Work and lubricate seacocks. Service if needed.
Check condition of all hoses and clamps
Check bilge pumps and float switch for automatic and manual operation
Clean and inspect bilge
Inspect stuffing boxes and prop shaft
Inspect rudder post
Clean and inspect galley and head


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Charge batteries and check continuity
Check terminals for corrosion
Inspect all wiring for wear and chafe
Replace connections and wiring as needed

For inboard engines

Change oil and oil filters
Change and inspect fuel filters
Inspect pencil zincs
Check coolant levels
Record date and hours of maintenance
Check and adjust belts for tension
Check transmission fluid
Check impeller
Check and clean sea-water strainer
Open raw water intake seacock before usE

For outboard engines
IG Vertical  (12)

Check and replace spark plugs 
Change oil 
Replace fuel filter/ water separator
Check wires for wear
Clean carburetors
Check prop for damage
Fill gear lube
Lubricate all grease points
Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb, and fuel tank
Inspect mounting hardware 
Check and replenish power trim/tilt fluid 
Check engine operating temperature
Check water pump is working correctly after starting 

Audit safety equipment 

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Sound signaling device 
Check visual distress signals 
Inspect PFD's 
Inspect throwable device 
Inspect fire extinguishers
Check and replace first aid supplies
Inspect life raft if applicable
Test VHF radio and charge handhelds

For sailboats
IG Vertical  (14)

Check mast and spreaders for damage
Inspect shrouds for damage
Inspect sails for wear
Lubricate sail track
Check turnbuckles and pins for wear
Inspect chainplates integrity above and below deck
Check roller furling system
Check all running rigging for wear
Tape turnbuckles and cotter/ring pins
Service winches 

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Renew registration or USCG documentation 
Check insurance and review your policy 
Renew mooring registration if applicable 
Add your homeport marina on Dockwa*
Add your boat’s image to your Dockwa profile*
Confirm slip or mooring assignment at homeport
Inspect and commission mooring if applicable


Download printable checklists here


More preseason resources and tips


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