Preparing Your Trip

4.1 Maintenance


After completing this section you will be able to:

  1. Explain why it is important to maintain your boat regularly.
  2. Understand recommended practices before heading out on the water.
  3. Understand the correct procedure for loading your small boat and familiarizing guests.
  4. Understand the correct procedure for refuelling.
  5. Understand the special handling characteristics of Personal Watercraft.
  6. Understand specific laws and courtesy issues that regulate and affect the operation of your pleasure craft.
  7. Understand regulations that pertain to certain water-related activities

Routine maintenance can prevent most problems on the water. Maintaining your pleasure craft on a regular basis will reduce the probability of breakdowns occurring. The boat and its systems should be thoroughly checked before launch and at haul out.

As well, a check list of all equipment should be followed all season.

  • The hull should be inspected regularly. If you trailer your vessel, the hull should be checked for damage just prior to each launch.
  • At haul out, clean your boat with an environmentally-friendly cleaner and check for damaged areas.
  • During the season, check for leaks and ensure the bilge remains clean.
  • Inside, check essential equipment to ensure there are no loose wires, corroded or soft hoses. Ensure hose clamps are tight and no loose equipment is lying in the bilge or engine room.
  • Check your mandatory equipment and ensure it is working condition. This equipment must be maintained in operating condition and be stored in an easily accessible place.
  • Once a month you should turn on your running lights. This helps prevent corrosion build-up.
  • Lights that fail usually do so after they have been on for a short while. If you operate them regularly, you will discover, before they are needed, whether or not they work.
  • Pleasure craft operators should also keep a copy of equipment manuals on board that explain routine maintenance operations.
  • Each pleasure boat operator should develop their own hull and equipment checklist. It will be individualized for your own vessel and the equipment you have on board.
  • Followed diligently and recorded faithfully, it will help prevent problems.
  • Combined with a well-maintained logbook, it can help in determining liability if and when necessary.
  • On the next page is a sample of a typical maintenance checklist.
  • The Hull & Equipment Maintenance Checklist is presented as a guide in general categories only.
  • This list is developed as a commissioning checklist but most of these items should be checked regularly as the season progresses.
  • Competent skippers maintain a constant watch on their equipment and the condition of their boat throughout the season.
  • Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is illegal to knowingly operate a craft which is not in seaworthy condition.
Next Page: 4.2 Getting Underway