Before starting out each boating season when you have your
boat out of the water, take precautions to inspect, tighten or
replace fittings on oil, fuel and hydraulic lines, and when
under way, maintain watches for oily surface sheens from bilge
and exhaust. As is evidenced in the photo above, poorly
maintained boats can sink and cause an oil spill.
- Start with a basic tune up by replacing spark plugs and
checking for oil and fuel leaks and the clamps for rust or
corrosion. Replace any old, stiff or cracking hoses that
- Drain used oil into a pan and using a funnel carefully
pour the oil into a clean plastic bottle with a cap that
screws tightly (a plastic milk jug works great). Carefully
replace the engine’s old gear oil with fresh oil. Take the
used oil to an oil recycling location.
- Add new oil and replace the drain plug, filters, belts,
and wires as needed.
- If the boat’s engine uses coolant, drain the existing
fluid, replace it and recycle it — taking care not to spill
any in the water or on the ground in the process.
- Be sure to lubricate all the moving parts such as the
shift and throttle cables with a marine lube.
- Check the bilge area for oily residue, and clean
thoroughly. Insert a bilge pillow in the area to absorb oils
from future leaks.
- Check the bilge pump, and make sure both the automatic
and manual operation work. Test the warning alarm system.
- Check the battery for water level and for corrosion on
the terminals. Recharge the battery or replace it if needed.
Turn the core into the dealer or use the hazardous waste
recycling center. (Do not discard batteries into a dumpster.
Most batteries contain lead and/or cadmium, both of which
are harmful to the environment.)
- Inspect the cockpit drains to make sure they are clear
and will drain rain water or spray from boats or waves.
- Check fuel tanks for damage or corrosion.
Pull your boat out of the water to: