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Red Rock Yacht Club

Sailing on Lake Red Rock, Iowa's Largest Lake, Since 1977

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HomeSpring Checklist



Pre-Launch Checklist


After winter's cold temperatures, heavy snows and high winds, boats need special care this spring. Time spent with this checklist today - can save time and money later!


  • Inspect and lubricate seacocks. Hoses and hose clamps should be inspected and replaced as necessary.
  • Replace deteriorated zincs.
  • Inspect prop(s) for dings, pitting and distortion. Make sure cotter pins are secure. Grip the prop and try moving the shaft - if it's loose, the cutlass bearing may need to be replaced.
  • Check to make sure the rudder stock hasn't been bent.
  • Inspect the hull for blisters, distortions and stress cracks.
  • Make sure your engine intake sea strainer is free of corrosion and properly secured.

Outdrives and outboards:
  • Inspect rubber outdrive bellows for cracked, dried and/or deteriorated spots (look especially in the folds), and replace if suspect.
  • Check power steering and power trim oil levels. Replace worn-out zincs.
  • Inspect outer jacket of control cables. Cracks or swelling indicate corrosion and could mean that the cable should be replaced.

Engines and fuel systems:
  • Inspect fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or cracking. Check all joints for leaks and make sure all lines are well supported with non-combustible clips or straps with smooth edges.
  • inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Clamps should be snug and free of heavy rust. Clean fuel filters.
  • Inspect cooling hoses and fittings for stiffness, rots, leaks and/or cracking. Make sure they fit snugly and are double-clamped.
  • Every few years, remove and inspect exhaust manifold for corrosion.
  • Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables. Wire-brush battery terminals and fill cells with distilled water.
  • Inspect bilge blower hose for leaks.

Sailboat rigging:
  • Inspect fittings for cracks and rust. Inspect wire halyards and running backstays for "fishhooks" and rust .
  • Remove tape on turnbuckles and lubricate threads, preferably with Teflon. Replace old tape with fresh tape.
  • Recaulk deck-mounted chainplates as necessary.


  • Check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for steady leaks and looseness.
  • Use a hose to check for deck leaks at ports and hatches. Renew caulks or gaskets as necessary.

  • Inspect tire treads and sidewalls for cracks or lack of tread and replace as necessary. Check air pressure. Don't forget the spare!
  • Inspect bearings and repack as necessary.
  • Test tail and back-up lights. Test winch to make sure it's working properly.

  • Check expiration dates on flares and fire extinguishers.
  • Check stove and remote tanks for loose fittings and leaking hoses.
  • Inspect bilge pump and float switch to make sure it's working properly.
  • Inspect dock and anchor lines for chafing.
  • Update or replace old charts, waterway guides.
  • Make sure your boating license and/or registration is up to date. Don't forget your trailer tags.
  • Review your boat insurance policy and update coverage if needed.
  • Make sure you have a properly sized and wearable life jackets in good condition for each passenger, including kids and pets.


Boat Pre-Season Checklist


Do a general cleaning of hull, deck and topsides using a mild detergent

Make sure drains and scuppers are clear

Put on a good coat of wax

Clean and polish metal with a good metal polish

Clean teak and oil

Clean windows and hatches

Clean canvas, bimini and dodger

Clean interior including bilges

Check spare parts and tools and replace as necessary

Make sure registration is current and onboard

Check and replace wiper blades if necessary


Check for hull abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc. and repair

Check and replace zincs

Check for blisters and refinish is necessary

Check rub rails

Check swim platform and/or ladder

Inspect and test trim tabs

Check shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop

Check rudder and fittings

Touch up or replace antifouling paint


Check stanchion, pulpits and lifelines for integrity

Check ground tackle, lines, fenders, etc.

Check chainplates and cleats

Check hull/deck joint

Check deck, windows, and port lights for leaks

Inspect anchor windlass and lubricate

Clean and grease winches

Check and lubricate blocks, pad eyes, etc.

Check dinghy, and life raft


Check, test and lubricate seacocks

Check condition of hoses and clamps

Make sure below waterline hoses are double clamped

Check bilges pumps for automatic and manual operation

Check for oil in bilges

Check limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris


Check battery water level

Check/recharge batteries

Check terminals for corrosion, clean and lubricate

Check bonding system

Inspect all wiring for wear and chafe

Test all gauges for operability

Check shore power and charger

Check for spare fuses

Check all lighting fixtures (including navigation lights) and make sure you have spare bulbs

Check all electronics for proper operation

Inspect antennas


Sound signaling device

Check distress signals and expiration date

Check Pfds

Inspect life rings and cushions

Check fire extinguishers and recharge if necessary

Check and adjust compass

Check navigation lights

Check charts and replace as necessary

Check radar reflector

Check and replace first aid supplies

Check bailer and hand pump


Change oil & filters - have spare onboard

Check and change fuel filters - have spares onboard

Check and change engine zincs

Check cooling system change coolant as necessary - have extra onboard

Record engine maintenance log, especially date & hours of last oil changes

Check belts for tension

Check transmission fluid

Check and clean backfire flame arrestor

Check impeller

Check and clean water strainer

Check bilge blower


Checked for smooth operation - lubricate and clean as necessary

If equipped with treatment system, have chemicals on hand

Y-valve operation checked, valve labeled & secured


Flush water tank

Check water system and pump for leaks and proper operation

Check hot water tank working on both AC and engines

Check for tank cap keys on board

Check and clean shower sump pump screens


Fill propane tank, check electric & manual valves, check

storage box vent to make sure it is clear

Check refrigerator, clean and freshen, operate on AC and DC

Clean stove, check that all burners and oven are working

Check microwave, if fitted


Replace spark plugs

Check plug wires for wear

Check prop for nicks and bends

Change/fill gear lube

Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb and tank for leaks

Lubricate and spray moveable parts

Change out the waterpump impeller after 3 years


Check for current registration

Check rollers and pads

Check and lubricate wheel bearings

Clean and lubricate winch

Lubricate tongue jack and wheel

Test lights and electrical connections

Check tire pressure and condition

Check brakes (if equipped)

Check safety chains

Check tongue lock