BoatU.S. inspection checklists, in and out of water

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (04/29/00)
By Ray Pendleton

A recent news bulletin from the headquarters of BoatU.S., the 500,000-member national boat owners association, reminded me of perhaps one of the drawbacks of living in a year-round boaters' paradise.

In most other parts of the U.S., after their boats have been largely unused all winter, boat owners normally do a spring checkup of their vessels to prepare them for the summer's activities.

But, here in Hawai`i, with our 12-month boating season, an annual, stem-to-stern safety inspection can often be overlooked.

Because such inspections usually will detect the kinds of problems that can lead to breakdowns, or even tragedy, offshore, making May "boat maintenance month" might be a good idea for Island boaters.

The following are just a few of the most important recommendations BoatU.S. has for inspecting boats of all kinds, both in and out of the water.

When a boat is hauled out, or on a trailer:
. Inspect and lubricate seacocks and inspect all hoses and clamps for deterioration. Replace when necessary.
Remove and replace all worn zincs.
Check engine shaft and rudder post for deviation.
Check hull for blisters, distortions and cracks.
Inspect engine sea strainer for corrosion and proper mounting.
Inspect rubber outdrive bellows for deterioration and replace when necessary.
Inspect inboard engine exhaust manifold for corrosion.

When a boat is in the water:
Check power steering and power trim fluid levels.
Inspect outer jacket of control cables for cracks or swelling which indicate possible corrosion. Inspect fuel tanks, pumps and lines, including vent and filler hoses, for leaks and deterioration.
Inspect cooling hoses and fittings for deterioration.
Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially battery cables, and check battery fluid level.
Check proper operation of bilge blowers.
Test ports and hatches for leaks with garden hose.
Inspect lifelines and rigging for corrosion and proper tension.
Check flares' and fire extinguishers' expiration dates, and extinguishers for proper pressure.
Test bilge pump and float switch for proper operation.
Check anchor and dock lines for chafing.
Test all navigation lights for proper illumination.
Check all communication equipment for proper operation.
Check condition and proper number of life jackets.
Review and update boat license, documentation and insurance coverage.

As BoatU.S. says in its news release, time spent on your boat with this check list today can save you time and money later.

I would also add it might also save the lives of you and others aboard your boat.

If you would like more information about BoatU.S. or this check list, both are available on the Internet at

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