OHIO OUTDOOR NOTEBOOK
By Laura Jones, Ohio Department of Natural Resources
PREPARING TODAY MAKES FOR SMOOTH SAILING TOMORROW
Mix longer days with warmer temperatures and you have all the ingredients for boating fever. Getting out on the water is the only known cure. Before you leave the no-wake zone, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) encourages you to prepare your boat for the new season.
Taking time now to inspect and properly outfit your boat goes along way toward assuring a safe, happy, and trouble-free boating experience, said Jeff Hoedt, chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft. The middle of the lake is no place to discover you should have replaced a cracked fuel line or worn hose.
A properly maintained boat also improves fuel efficiency and is more environmentally friendly to Ohios waterways. With a record number of motorized boats registered in Ohio this year, even small fuel and lubricant leaks can multiply into a major ecological problem.
Among some of the important tips for preseason boating readiness are:
- Have your owners manual handy and follow any recommended maintenance procedures.
- Begin a new service log to keep records of any mechanical service performed or scheduled for your watercraft.
- Thoroughly check your boat trailer and tires to ensure they are in a safe and operable condition.
- Check for valid a watercraft registration, as some registrations expired March 1. A new online renewal system makes it fast and convenient to renew an Ohio watercraft registration.
- Have the engine oil changed and make a thorough inspection of the engine or outboard motor and its support systems.
- Inspect pumps and bilges, steering mechanism and trim, tilt hydraulic systems and cables for wear and any needed service.
- Replace filters, inspect separators and check condition of all system hoses. Service and replace as needed.
- Remove and inspect the propeller for dents, cracks or corrosion. Replace propeller or take it to a qualified dealer for repairs if needed.
- Check all belts, wires, plugs, clamps, battery and electrical system, including switches and all lighting.
- Replace fuel and inspect fuel tanks for safe operation.
- Inspect sanitary holding tank.
- Make sure approved lifejackets and all other required safety equipment are placed in the boat. Including a first-aid kit is also a good idea.
- If you dont already have one, consider purchasing a marine radio in case of emergencies.
- When you feel everything is in order, ask for a free watercraft vessel safety check from the ODNR Division of Watercraft.
Youre almost ready to hit the water! With your boat in ship-shape order, here are a few more suggestions on how you can have a safe and enjoyable boating experience:
- Be sure to check weather and water forecasts.
- Make sure you have sufficient fuel. The "one-third rule" of fuel management is a good one to follow: one-third of the fuel to go out, one-third to get back and one-third for reserve.
- Know your boats capacity limit and dont take more passengers or gear than it recommends.
- And finally, its always a good idea to tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
Additional information about boating opportunities, regulations, facilities and programs can be obtained toll free by calling 1-877-4BOATER, and by visiting the ODNR website at www.dnr.state.oh.us
Now you and your boat are ready and all that remains is for Ohios weather to cooperate. Then its anchors aweigh!