If we agree on anything, this previous year was wacky—and the weather was even wackier, if that’s possible. But, while many factors are out of our control, we can control many things. So here are a few friendly reminders to make sure you are ready at the ramp when spring comes to your favorite lake.

Charge It Up

A dead battery is one of the most typical and easily avoidable problems. Even if you didn’t care for your battery before winter set in, now is the time to put it on a charger or pull it and take it to an automotive shop to be inspected. In many circumstances, onboard boat chargers won’t charge your battery once it drops below a specific voltage. If this is the circumstance, place it on an automotive charger for a short time to help provide it with a jump or surface charge that will permit your onboard charger to finish the charging process effectively.

Avoid holey equipment

We think it’s safe to state that lifejackets and throw cushions are needed everywhere. However, many people may not know that a boat won’t pass a safety check if the equipment has holes or tears. So, whether caused by rough-housing or hungry mice, ensure your flotation devices do not have holes in them. We’ve also discovered that a small Velcro strap on a throw cushion keeps you legal and avoids a good one blowing out of your boat on the lake or driving down the road. So, always plan ahead.

Check the plug

Almost every spring, we see at least one panicked boater racing for their truck to pull their boat back out because somebody forgot the plug. An additional drain plug in your glovebox is worth its weight in gold. Just saying! If you find yourself in this situation, take your time loading the boat on the trailer. The added weight from a hull full of water can obliterate a bow winch and possibly even your trailer. Instead, do it in phases and allow your bilge pump to help you before even more damage is done.

Clean it up

We don’t really love spiders. Not because we fear them—not much anyways—but mainly because they seem to always get into the electrical connections of the trailers, no matter what steps we take. Take a moment to clean out your trailer and vehicle receptacles. You can use a paper towel on a screwdriver, but upgrading to a small-caliber rifle wire-cleaning brush makes for easier work. This removes the webs and rubbish, but a small pick is also a great help in these circumstances. Finish things off with an electrical component cleaner, and your lights will glow brightly.

Light it up

Most states mandate you to have day and night signaling devices. Signal flares keep you legal and can save you during an emergency. If you plan on fishing in Canada or at least Canadian waters, leave your pistol-style flares at home and pick up the stick kind. The pistol-style ones are considered a firearm and will cause you more trouble than not having them! If you want to avoid purchasing flares every few years when they expire, buy the new LED pod style that requires batteries. They do not expire.

Follow these tips to prep your boat in spring, and check out our page to plan your fishing excursion in Florida.