Before You Launch: Your 10-Point Spring Boating Checklist

Boating season is getting started and if you haven’t already, it’s time to prep your boat. Consider this quick “Get the Boat Ready” checklist you can use to get started:

1. Registration: Is your boat’s registration up-to-date? Remember, some states have yearly renewals and others offer longer terms, so it’s best to check the date on your registration before you head out on the water.

2. Safety equipment: Some items, like fire extinguishers, have short life spans.  Check to make sure all on-board safety equipment including life jackets are ready for another boating season.

3. Plug: Make sure you remember (or find out) the location of your boat’s drain plug.

Video courtesy of Nuts & Bolts of Fishing & Boating’s YouTube channel

4. Mechanics: Check the engine and mechanical parts for any cracked belts, hoses or worn-out equipment. Replace anything that looks like it won’t make it through the season.

5.  Electrical systems: Turn on and test everything before you get to the boat ramp. Corrosion around battery terminals is typical and can be easily fixed with a wire brush.

6. Engine: Make sure it runs. A universal motor flush tool that uses a simple garden hose is a great way to make sure the engine will start once it’s in the water.

7. Ropes: Check your tow ropes and anchor ropes to see if they have become too brittle to handle another season of use.

8. Tires: Are your trailer’s tires still road-worthy? Inflate all tires, including the spare, to the proper pressure.

9. Lights: Test the brake, turn signal and running lights on your trailer before you set off.

10. Hull: Give your hull a thorough inspection. Check for scratches or gouges that you can buff out and make sure you touch up the spots needing new paint.

While this list covers most of the essentials, find more information and advice for keeping your boat in tip-top shape on sites like


Get A Quote
Get A Quick, Personalized Insurance Quote Today.
A great rate is just a few clicks away.
Find A Local Agent
Stephanie Vatalaro, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation
Stephanie Vatalaro is the Director of Communications for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of boating and fishing participation and aquatic resource stewardship. is the RBFF's key digital destination for individuals to learn, plan and equip for a day on the water.