While much of the country remains plagued by record-cold temperatures and weather patterns that are less-than-friendly to boaters, the clock is close to winding down to the official start of sailing season. This means that if you are planning on putting your vessel in the water this spring or summer, you no longer have time to wait to prepare your boat if its been sitting in storage all winter long.
If you kept your boat in a storage unit, you need to be thorough about giving it a thorough cleaning. This is especially true if you allowed your boat to sit outdoors all winter, even if you did wash every square inch of your boat before packing it up for the season. For instance, if you use bottom paints for your boat, now is the best time to apply a fresh coat to keep slime and barnacles from accumulating on the hull.
This is especially true for wooden boats, which are susceptible to rot and other damage along the water line even when they aren't submerged. Closely inspect your hull in the transom and under decks that might have retained moisture over the winter months and alleviate even the slightest signs of damage before taking to the high seas.
Other basic tasks to knock off your checklist are a thorough polish of all bright work on your vessel, replacement of aged hull zincs, greasing winches and lubricating the anchor windlass.
This is also a great time to consider investing in new boat accessories to make the upcoming season your most enjoyable and successful one yet. Whether that entails buying a new chartplotter or marine GPS, any "gift" for your vessel will only make the season more enjoyable.