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Smarter Spring Commissioning

Understanding how systems really work – and degrade over the winter – can help you prepare your boat for a trouble-free season. Here’s a guide from a pro…
Sometimes the most daunting thing about launching your boat in the spring is slogging through the checklist designed to "help" you do it. And no wonder: commissioning efforts for Canadian boaters run the gamut from paying a full-service yard to re-commission every system on board to putting away the one lonely space heater that's been wheezing away on the salon floor since Thanksgiving.

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Folding and Feathering Props

Under sail, these marvels of engineering deliver significantly less drag and greater speed than their traditional fixed-blade cousins. When I started sailing, the economical way to reduce propeller drag on a cruising sailboat was simply to install a two-blade prop. This worked fine – we had one on our 35’ sailboat for almost 30 years. Mind you, it didn't provide a lot of push in steep seas and headwinds, and we often used the mainsail to help punch us through a chop. Folding and Feathering Props

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Don’t Do It Yourself!

It’s not just a matter of cost – there are simply lots of people who enjoy puttering around on their boats and doing their own mechanical work. There are many useful tasks that an owners can do to keep their own little ship “shipshape”, however there are some things where we say, don’t do it yourself! Generally, your fuel system is not a DIY item. For safety reasons alone, a boat's electrical wiring and grounding systems should always be handled by a qualified marine technician. But, there are other areas where home handyman knowledge can get you into trouble.

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Make New Anodes: Part of Your Haul Out Checklist

When it comes time to haul out this year, plan to give all your underwater gear a close inspection, measure and replace your anodes now and know you are ready for next season. In the fall, you can do this at your leisure. Understandably, we seem to be in a rush to launch again each spring and once the boat is in the water, replacing anodes is difficult to say the least!

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Ten Winter Storage Dangers

A few people winterize and store their own boat. Many of us pay the pros to do it. Spring commissioning is far more rewarding because you are preparing for a great summer with your boat. Winterizing is a tough chore because we usually keep boating until the weather turns nasty, plus you are struggling with that “down-feeling” that the boating season is over. That makes it doubly hard to dig in and do a great job of winterizing and protecting your boat for the winter.

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