Safe Boat Launching
April 6, 2016 2:07 PM | Tagged as Lake Springfield Marina, Launch ramp, Safety

   It’s getting to be that time of year again, soon every Saturday and Sunday will be spent on the water.  The lake will become busy and the ramps will become especially crowded.  Let’s go over boat launching safety and etiquette to refresh everyone’s memory.

   I know launching your boat can be the most stressful time of the day for most boaters.  The launches are busy; there are lines to get your boat in the water as well as lines to get your boat out of the water.  Make the most of this time and prepare your boat and trailer for the water.  Load the boat with all the coolers, towels, personal items, and equipment you will need for the day. Make sure the lower unit is raised to avoid scraping on the ramp.  Install the drain plug.  Release the securing straps.  Disconnect the trailer lights, and rig a line to avoid drifting after the boat is launched.  This is also a great time to check the battery to make sure it is charged.  Taking the time to prepare will make for a speedy launch and make room for other boaters.  Ramp etiquette is very important and will keep you in good standing with the other boaters around.

   Right before launching your boat, check the ramp conditions to find where the slippery area begins.  Roll down all the windows of the vehicle and have everyone, including pets, get out.  This is a safety precaution, in case something should go wrong, you will be able to escape the vehicle.  Also, make sure mobile devices are secured in a safe place and not stored in your pockets.  Nothing ruins your day like losing a phone to the water.  If you are new to boating you may want to practice backing your trailer up in your driveway or an empty parking lot before the big day (the first busy Saturday in the summer).  A helpful tip for maneuvering a trailer is to push the bottom of your car’s steering wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go.  While backing down the ramp, make sure to keep a tire stop handy in case you should need it.  Once the boat is floating, leave the engine of your vehicle running and don’t forget to set the parking brake.  Release the winch line and reverse the boat slowly off the trailer.

   As ramp etiquette goes, move the boat to a less crowded area to pick up your passengers.  Quickly get the vehicle out of the way of the ramp and to a designated trailer parking area.  I cannot say it enough, do not linger in the ramp area.  This will anger your fellow boaters.  If you follow these tips, you will be sure to have a safe summer of boat launching.  We look forward to seeing you all very soon at Lake Springfield Marina.     

Spring Maintenance
March 17, 2016 1:11 PM | Tagged as Central Illinois, Safety, Spring Maintenance

The weather has been pretty nice around central Illinois lately. If you are like us, this weather makes us excited about summer and of course boating! Some of you may think you can just pull your boat out of storage and away you go on that first 70 degree and sunny Saturday. Let me just tell you, that’s a bad idea. Your boat has been sitting in storage somewhere for about 6 months. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to give your boat a once over before you get it out on the water? Think of spring maintenance as a check-up for your boat. This check-up could help prevent problems that could keep you off the water once the season is in full swing.

What all does spring maintenance entail, you may ask. Our certified technicians will:
• Remove shrink wrap
• Check, charge, and clean battery posts
• Check trim for proper operation
• Check operation of all gauges
• Inspect boots, bellows, belts, and hoses for dry-rot, wear, and leaks
• Check for proper shifting, inspect cables (throttle, steering, and choke), and connections
• Inspect lower unit for visible damage
• Lubricate grease zirks if applicable
• Inspect propeller and skeg for tightness, damage, and knicks
• Check all fluids for proper levels and fill as needed (up to half a quart)
• Check all filters for condition, leakage, and tightness
• Start engine in shop, inspect for proper operation and cooling
• Check trailer lights, coupler, tires/pressure, rims, bunks, brake fluid, and grease bearings
• Check impeller and wear-ring (PWC)

As you can see this is a very comprehensive list and probably has many things you did not think about. Our certified technicians are very thorough. If something is going on with your boat, they are sure to find the problem and we can get it taken care of before the season.

Spring maintenance takes care of boat functions but it is your job to make sure your safety equipment is in good condition and operating properly. Be sure to check:
• Life jackets to ensure they are in good condition
• There are enough life jackets for maximum passengers
• All fire extinguishers are the right class for your boat
• Fire extinguishers are fully charged and stowed in the proper place
• The first aid kit is fully stocked

Between spring maintenance and your personal safety check you are sure to have a great start to the season. Make sure to schedule your spring maintenance today and make boating as carefree as possible!

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