Cleaning the interior includes
not only the fabric and carpets, but also checking for leaks or signs of damage
to the hull, hatches and port holes.
Most interior fabrics can be cleaned with any household fabric
cleaner. Dedicated vinyl cleaners are
available for cleaning and protecting the vinyl seats and cushions.
This is also a time when
any wood trim or joinery should be cleaned and protected with an appropriate
material such as teak oil, polyurethane, etc.
If your boat happened to develop moisture during the storage, you may
need to remove a little mold and mildew from the surfaces. It’s a good idea to wipe all the surfaces
down with an anti bacterial cleaner anyway, even if you don’t see mold
Once the basic interior is
cleaned it is time to look into bilges, under engines and at storage
tanks. Clean the bilges checking for any
debris or oil that might have dropped or seeped into the area. If there is oil in the bilges you have to
find the leak before putting the boat in the water. You will also need to check the bilges pumps
for operation. Make sure you check both
the automatic and manual operation if necessary. If you only have one bilge pump you may want
to take the time to install a back up.
If you leave your boat on the water for the season a back up pump can be
a lifesaver during a heavy rain.
Of course, while you’re
digging around in the bilge areas, check, test and lubricate all the
seacock’s. Make sure you inspect any
hoses and clamps. It’s highly recommended that any hoses that are below the
waterline get a little extra protection by being double clamped. This might also be the time to make sure you
have a few appropriately sized wooden plugs as emergency stoppers for through
Depending on the size of your
boat the systems could include the head, water galley and electrical
components, all of which need to be inspected, cleaned and tested.
If your head is a portable
system the checking is pretty simple, make sure the tank is cleaned out, you
have chemicals on board and it works.
If your have a permanent
systems, it’s really not much different. The system need to be cleaned and
lubricated for smooth operations. The tanks need to be cleaned and maybe even
flushed if possible. If you have chemical treatments make sure you have a
supply on board and accessible. If you
have to have your own dump hose for the marina, make sure it’s accessible and not
damaged or leaking.
One other thing, if your boat
has a Y-valve make sure it is working, labeled for the correct operation and
secured in the appropriate position.
The water system is pretty
basic. The storage tank needs to be flushed to clean it out. If it was sitting
with water in it, you’ll need to run a sanitizer through it. In fact, you should sanitize the tanks even
if you had antifreeze in it. Using a
pool or spa chlorine will remove bacteria and clean the tank. Once you add the chlorine to the tank, let it
sit for a while and then run the water through the system so that the chlorine
gets a chance to pass through all the fixtures and drains.
While running the chlorinated
water through the system; inspect the hoses, clamps and pumps for leaks. At the same time you can test the water
heater to make sure it works. But remember; don’t run the water heater without
water in it.
After testing the water
system you should inspect clean and operate the refrigerator, freezer, stove
and any other appliances. Depending on
your individual situation, this might include operating the appliances on the
shore power, battery power or “gas” (like propane). Any gas fittings should be inspected for
dirt, damage and leakage. A small bottle
of bubble blowing liquid works great to find leaks in gas line fittings.
The electrical system
inspection and preparation can be quite extensive depending on your specific
boat. Typically you’ll have batteries
that need to be inspected and charged. Battery
fluid levels need too be checked and the terminals should be cleaned and
lubricated to prevent corrosion. Fuses,
breakers and wiring should be inspected for corrosion, damage, cracks, worn
spots, signs of arcing and operation.
If you have a fishing boat
you may have the addition of a cleaning station and live wells. The live wells
should be checked for operation and leakage.
Many boats also have a deck fresh water shower or spray system that
needs to be tested.
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