Basic Yearly Boat and Trailer Maintenance and Inspection

By Randy Patzner
January 22, 2006
  1. Check the coupler on the trailer. Make sure all parts move freely and are rust and crack free. Lube as directed in owners manual.
  2. Inspect trailer jack and wheel. Lube pivot shaft and wheel if necessary.
  3. Check all running lights.
  4. With the boat off the trailer, inspect either bunks or rollers for excessive wearing, broken board, torn carpet, or loose or missing bolts.
  5. Both bearing and brakes if applicable should be serviced by a certified mechanic yearly.
  6. A good coat of wax once or more a year will help in both looks and longevity of your trailer.
  7. Check the level of electrolytes in all batteries. Add only distilled water and fully charge after every use. Check battery post for corrosion.
  8. Inspect fuel systems for any odors, leaks, or deteriorations.
  9. Do steering systems work smoothly both ways? Grease the steering cable if needed. Look for any loose bolts and signs of deteriorations.
  10. Inspect navigation lights for corrosion and make sure they work properly.
  11. Inspect bilge and aerator pumps to make sure they are also working properly. Do live wells drain properly? Check intake screen for obstructions.
  12. Check the horn.
  13. Are drain plugs installed and tight?
  14. Check trolling motor pull cord if applicable. Look for fraying or cuts. Replace if you see any visible wear. Is prop secure and void of cracks or deep nicks? Replace if necessary.
  15. Is the fire extinguisher in good working shape and secured? Replace if there is any doubt!
  16. Are life jackets and throw cushions in good shape? Check each one for tears, and replace as needed.
  17. Clean and wax all parts of the boat. It not only makes your rig look better but will help in its resale if done on a regular basis.
  18. Check anchor rope for wear or aging. Replace as needed.
  19. Do you have a basic tool kit onboard? Make sure all tools, fuses, and bulbs are accounted for and in good working order.