It’s normal to have some anxiety about launching your boat, especially if you don’t have much experience doing it.
Here is little bit of advise to help you with the most basic of things which to be honest are not so basic especially for a new boater.
If you’ve seen launch days at marinas, you know that its one boat after the other and the pressure is on to get yourself set up and under way. Its intense, because this is the first day your boat goes in the water and you hope that first, it fires up and second, all systems operate well. One advise I have for all boaters is to start your engine while still on land. You can do this yourself with some instruction, or you may be better off hiring a mechanic to do it for you. Some mechanics charge one hours labour, and complete a whole checklist for you, this way you have no surprises when you are in the water.
Make absolutely sure your transom drain plug is installed. Don’t over tighten it. Without the drain plug, your boat will take on water fast.
Before trying to start your boat, remember to switch your battery selector in your engine compartment from Off to On. If you have both a cranking and deep cycle batteries, make sure you have your cranking battery selected.
It goes without saying that you should make sure your batteries are charged prior to launch day. I usually connect my shore power to an outlet a couple of days before and let the batteries charge that way.
the engine compartment
After you get your engine started make it a habit to check the engine compartment. Look for water and loose hoses. It’s not unheard of to have a loose hose spraying water into your engine compartment. I know this, because it’s happened to me in the past.
Seacock/Thru hull fittings
Next you should check all your through haul fitting to make sure that they are sealed and don’t have a leak.
Let the boat idle for a bit
Don’t be shy to spend 5 minutes letting your boat idle and warm up. You are best off discovering any issues while tied up to dock then when your out on the water.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
My marina is always cursed with high winds and bad weather on both haul in and haul out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help docking. Marina employees as well as other boaters are usually happy to help.
Cold weather gear
Operating a boat in Ontario requires some attention to cold water operation. Haul in’s at many marinas happen in late April or Early May. The water temperature on the lakes are usually bellow 50 degrees. Be prepared mentally for these challenges, and cold weather gear in my opinion is always a good thing to have onboard, just in case.
Relax and enjoy!
Yeah Launch day is tough, especially the first few years as a boater, when you’re not very confident with docking, but try to enjoy the beginning of what will hopefully be a great season.