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Spring Commissioning Checklist: Get Your Boat Ready for the Water

This helpful list makes getting ready easy.

Spring Commissioning Checklist: Get Your Boat Ready for the Water

Spring is the start of so many great things for boaters. The fish are biting. The weather is turning warmer. It’s a fantastic time of year. But before you start making weekend plans on the lake, there are some routine tasks you need to take care of first to make sure your boat is ready to go.

Things like:

·       Annual engine maintenance

·       Trailer maintenance

·       Stocking your boat with all the essentials

We’ll outline all the necessary steps to get your boat ready, so you’re not stuck on shore when the sun is shining. And the best part?

A Mercury Authorized Dealer can help you get the job done right. They stock everything you need to handle routine maintenance yourself, or they can do all the work for you, so you can stay focused on the fun.

If you want to find a Mercury dealer near you, use our dealer locator tool. If you’re a DIY boater, here’s a summary of everything you should check before heading out for the first time this season:


The complete preseason boat prep checklist:

· Tires (including the spare) – Check the air in your trailer tires with a pressure gauge. The recommended pressure will be printed on the sidewall of each tire. Also look for signs of cracking and excessive tread wear. If you see a problem, it might be time for new tires or a check by a professional.

· Trailer bearings – Ensure that your wheel bearings are in good condition and have plenty of grease.

· Batteries – Assuming you kept your batteries charged and out of the boat in winter, you’ll need to reinstall them. If you see any corrosion on the cable ends or battery terminals, treat it with a wire brush and a little dielectric grease to keep it from getting any worse. If you haven’t charged your batteries all winter, you may need to charge them before use.

· Prop – Inspect your propeller for any major dings or damage. Now’s the time to get it to a prop shop for repair, or to get a new prop from your Mercury dealer, if you need one. You should also remove the prop to check for fishing line and other debris around the prop shaft, then add some Mercury 2-4-C Marine Grease to the prop shaft (do not apply it to the shaft’s threads) before reinstalling the prop.

  • ·  Gear lube – Hopefully you remembered to change your gear lube as part of your winterization process. If you didn’t change it in the fall, go ahead and do it now. Check for milky grease or water in the gearcase. If you see any, it’s a sign of a failed seal, which should be addressed by a Mercury dealer.
  • · Engine oil – For a four-stroke outboard, the engine oil should have been changed in the fall, but if not, do so now. If you did change the engine oil and filter at the end of last season, you’ll just need to check the fill level on the dipstick before heading out in spring. Be sure the engine is trimmed straight up and down to get an accurate reading.
  • · Miscellaneous engine maintenance – Check your engine’s operation, maintenance and installation manual to see if any items such as spark plugs or fuel filters are getting close to needing to be changed based on your engine hours. It’s likely a lot more convenient to take care of any pending maintenance as part of your spring commissioning rather than in the middle of your boating season.
  • · Trim and steering fluid – Your trim fluid and hydraulic steering fluid reservoirs should have been topped off in the fall, but check them anyway to ensure they are still full. If any grease fittings were missed in your winterization, go ahead and give them a few pumps with a grease gun now.
  • · Fuel system – Fill your fuel tank all the way up and treat it with the appropriate Mercury Fuel Care System product to ensure your fuel stays fresh and your fuel system is clean and free of buildup.
  • · Safety gear and essentials – Take inventory and make sure you have all the safety gear required by the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as your state and local regulations. Similarly, make sure you have essentials such as a first-aid kit, VHF radio or satellite phone, flashlights, spare batteries, air horn, whistle, rope bag and the like. Learn more about the basics you need to have on board.

· Trailer basics – Perform these checks on your trailer

·       Check the coupler, including the latch, locking pin and the bolts that attach it to the trailer tongue. Make sure everything is in working order.

·       Same for the safety chains.

·       Make sure blinkers and brake lights are functional.

·       Grease the jack.

·       Lubricate the shafts and gears of the winch and inspect the strap for any signs of wear or rot.

·       Make sure the tie-down straps are functional and there’s no fraying or damage.

Maintenance Made Easy

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Want to learn more about the basics of caring for your boat, engine and trailer? Check out our handy Maintenance Made Easy guide.

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