Depending on where you live, boating season can range from a few months to pretty much all year round. People who live in sunny climates like Florida can enjoy boating on almost any day that they choose. For everyone else, Memorial Day is traditionally the beginning of boating season which commonly runs through the end of September or early October.
"Memorial Day is traditionally the beginning of boating season which commonly runs through the end of September or early October."
But let’s be honest, just because you can’t go boating doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy your boat. I have plenty of fond memories of working with my father on his boat and, later in life, working with my own children on our boat. So, before you wave goodbye to boating season, try looking at it from a different angle. Let’s take a look at some maintenance you can perform, some enhancements that you can make, and some future planning you can start now. We will even cover some important bonus tips at the end. This way you can still enjoy your boat and, better yet, make some amazing memories with someone close. Let’s get started.
This is one area that people tend to get complacent about. Maintenance is crucial in order to have a vessel operating at its full potential. You need to look at every system in your boat. Are there any dangling wires? That needs to be addressed. A simple fix is to secure them using mounting cable ties or even cable ties coupled with adhesive backed mounts. Either of these is a solid solution. Just make sure that if the area in question is exposed to sunlight, then you should opt for UV resistant cable ties. What about electrical connections? If something is loose, don’t just tighten it. Make sure that it is in fact still making a solid connection. If not, you may need to replace the terminal or connector. If you need to create a splice somewhere, make sure that you either cover it full in epoxy lined heat shrink, or cover it with electrical tape then coat the area with an electrical sealant. The bottom line is that you need to consider just about every aspect of your boat. This doesn’t mean you need to spend weeks with a magnifying glass looking at every square inch, but you do need to be aware of each area of your boat and the condition it is in.
Tell you what. Here is a great article that covers a lot of maintenance that is a good starting point for new boaters as well as a good refresher for veterans. It covers 10 essential electrical questions and is sure to make maintenance flow a little more easily. This way, when you go back out on the water, you will know that you are prepped and ready. Another good article that covers some topics we didn’t touch on can be found here. This way you can cover all the bases and make sure that your boat is ship shape.
If you are not interested in maintenance or have already completed all you need to, then it is time to take a look at enhancements. By term enhancements, I am referring to the parts and items that can improve the boating experience. Things like switch covers that make switch identification easy are a simple enhancement that just about anyone can do in a few minutes. You can get switch covers printed with just about any text and symbol you could ever need on a boat. Better than that, you can get them in a style that matches what you are looking for. You can even get laser etched switch covers for that undeniably crisp look.
Another great enhancement you can make is changing out a panel. You can simply replace an old panel with a new panel blank or you could follow our guide to build your own panel. Either way, you are sure to be happy with the end result. My kids love playing with the panels and pretending that they are on some grandiose adventure. That’s why a new panel and switches can be a fun memory to share this boating season. Some enhancements are less obvious but still serve a distinctive function. USB chargers are a great example. In the age of cell phones, everyone needs to charge their device, which presents a problem when out on the water where there is no direct charging method. Well, no direct charging method unless you have installed a USB charging port . With these handy devices, you never have to worry about cellphone battery life again, well at least while you are on your boat.
Another enhancement you may be considering might further involve aesthetics. Sometimes you may want to change out an area of carpet or possibly paint an area. Before you do those things, you will need to make sure that you thoroughly clean the areas before applying an adhesive or a kind of paint. Here is a quick list of potential cleaning supplies you may want to consider. Now that we have covered enhancements and maintenance, your boat is ready for your next voyage, but are you?
"You can simply replace an old panel with a new panel blank or you could follow our guide to build your own panel."
Planning ahead is the best way to make each boating trip memorable. One of my favorite things to do is discover new islands to visit or interesting looking locales while boating. This is where google maps can be your friend. When you go boating off the coast, there are a plethora of new experiences to find such as small islands or inlets you might not be aware of. This process works even if you’re just going to a small lake. By utilizing a map service, you can find areas near where you normally go or even a boat ramp you were unaware of. Trust me, even if you think you have been to every lake, river, and bay in your area, there is a strong chance that you haven’t. Take some time to investigate areas that you think look interesting. Make a plan to see some new areas. Have of the fun of boating, at least me, is exploring.
We have looked at maintenance tips and suggestions, enhancements that you can make to your vessel, as well as simple advice on how to plan ahead to make your next boating trip more memorable. So you see boating season isn’t necessarily over, it’s just changed shape. Before you go, there are a few more topics I would like to touch on briefly. Take a quick glance below then get back to planning your next trip.
People tend to get complacent. To think that since they have done something one hundred times before they are in control of the situation. That is simply not true. I do not care how much boating experience you have; you need a float plan. Every time you take your boat out. A float plan is essentially a document that details your boating trip. Things like; When you are leaving, where you are going, when you will be back, and how many people are going are just a few of the questions you should answer. Seriously, this simple piece of paper has saved countless lives. For a more detailed explanation of float plans, click here. To fill out your own printable float plan, check here.
We covered all the topics above but didn’t really leave any time for boating tips. Again, experience helps, but it never hurts to learn something new when it comes to boating. I could go over some of my personal favorite tips or even just list a few random tips here, however, I really think you’ll get the biggest gains from checking out this article.