Posted on

Preparing Your Marine Diesel Vessel for Spring

Winter is finally over and Spring has, well … sprung! The air is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and the ocean begins to beckon for recreational boating season. While you may be chomping at the bit to get your diesel vessel uncovered from its Winter slumber and into the warm Spring waters, there are several steps you must take to ensure the season’s maiden voyage doesn’t turn into a maiden disaster. As excited as you are to start enjoying your craft, the Coast Guard and marine towing companies are just as excited to haul you in because you didn’t properly de-winterize your diesel vessel. The benefits of getting an early start and having the waterways to yourself can be quickly outweighed by costly repairs and extended wait times in the event of an emergency, so it is vital that you don’t rush the preparation process of your vessel. Don’t let yourself or your loved ones end up in a dangerous situation. Most potential issues can be easily avoided by following the proper maintenance procedures  to ensure your vessel is safe and ready for the season.

Making sure that your diesel vessel is appropriately prepared for Spring useage will require a series of comprehensive checks of multiple systems. Before doing anything else, it is important to refer to your vessel’s specific owner’s manual. There may be specific tasks required for your individual model and these can’t be ignored. The extent of these procedures is different from vessel to vessel, and may require the assistance of a trained technician, but the benefits of their experience will be well worth the additional time and effort – anything worth doing is worth doing correctly, otherwise you may find yourself high and dry instead of enjoying your vessel. A professional technician can also assist you with a general tune-up of your vessel, highly recommended when pulling off the tarp for Spring festivities. More than likely, your boat has been sitting unused for the entire winter. Several months of inactivity can result in just as many problems as overuse without the proper maintenance. Accumulating moisture and changing temperatures can cause corrosion, damaging your mechanical and electronic systems. Even the leftover diesel fuel in your tank can break down over time and cause you problems. Keeping up with your regular maintenance schedule, regardless of the time of year or how much use your vessel is actually getting, can help ensure that it is running optimally when you do choose to take her out for a spin. However, it is best to make these maintenance appointments as early as possible, as the Spring season only gets busier at it progresses.

When having routine maintenance done on your vessel, it is also a good opportunity to have a safety check performed. These inspections are conducted by qualified professionals from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. If they don’t already have a presence at your marina, you can always schedule an appointment with them to come out and evaluate your vessel for safety contingencies like life jackets, flares, sounding devices, and fire extinguishers to name just a few. You cannot be cited for being prepared, so it can’t hurt to have your vessel inspected before making your first Springtime excursion. At the very least, it will make you aware of what you’re missing to make your vessel as safe as possible. You will also want to make sure that you’ve restocked on the basic necessities needed to make your outing as comfortable as possible – non-perishable foods, sunscreen, general first aid supplies, and a physical copy of your emergency contact info (in case your phone goes overboard). You never know what can happen out on the sea, so it is important to be as prepared for anything, no matter how unlikely.

Where you are going is just as important as how you get there, so it is also a wise choice to make sure that your GPS system is updated before embarking on your first Spring voyage. However, even with a working GPS, it is critical to plan your destinations when taking your vessel out in the Spring, especially for any trip longer than an afternoon. Some yards and marinas may not be fully operational so early in the year, so it is highly recommended that you check the websites of nearby facilities and make your reservations before embarking. Again, the sea is unpredictable, so even if you follow all of the necessary maintenance and safety protocols, something could still happen, you’ll definitely want another party expecting you just in case you never arrive at your destination. Being adrift is bad enough, but even worse if no one knows where you are and communication is somehow limited. Some occurrences simply can’t be prepared for, but by following basic safety and maintenance procedures for your diesel powered vessel, you’ll be able to shake off those Winter blues as soon as possible and ensure that the rest of the year brings you and your loved ones’ continued enjoyment.

 684 total views,  1 views today

Leave a Reply