Getting your boat ready at the start of boating season requires a lot more than removing your boat cover and adding fuel. In fact, proper spring boat readiness can make a big difference in the safety and longevity of your boat.
We all make mistakes, but being aware of the possible mistakes will help you to avoid them. Here are some suggestions from our highly experienced captains:
Make sure you have your documentation! In NJ a NJSP issued boat safety certificate is required if you are operating a powered vessel. If you're on tidal waters, that's all you need. If you are a NJ resident boating on non-tidal waters, you'll also need a boat license (and endorsement on your NJ Driver's license).
Take your time getting your boat ready! Take time to inspect all aspects of your boat from the engine hoses to the bilge pump, spark plugs, seals, clamps, etc....
Take care to connect the boat battery correctly! A good hint is to take a picture of the connections before putting your boat away for the winter. That way, when it's time to hook up the battery, you're not struggling to figure it out all over again. Connecting the battery incorrectly can lead to an electrical short or fire.
Is your Safety Equipment ready and on board? You've probably stored your gear inside for the winter. First, make sure all flares and fire extinguishers have not expired. Second check the condition of all your safety gear, PFDs, etc., Third, change the batteries in any equipment like radios. Finally, put it on your boat before you leave the dock! Another hint - before you store your boat for the winter make a checklist of your gear so nothing is forgotten when you're ready to go boating.
Two words - Drain Plug! If you have a boat with a transom drain pug, remember to install it before getting in the water. Sounds silly, but it's easy to forget...until your gear and feet are soaking wet!
Check your trailer. Start by checking on your tires, bearings and brakes. And before you hit the road, check the hook ups and the trailer lights.
Boat Safe US, LLC is your first step to boating legally and safely in New Jersey! Take a classroom course in either one 8-hour day or two 3 1/2 hours evenings. You can also take the class online with Boater-ed.com or BoaterExam.com, and take the proctored exam with us!
For more information and for Boating Safety classes that are NJ State Police Approved and NASBLA Certified, go to www.BoatSafeUS.com. Our Instructors will provide you with a fun-filled and educational look at Boat Safety in New Jersey. All of our instructors at Boat Safe US, LLC are certified and approved to instruct by the NJ State Police Marine Division and our course is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).