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  • Shelter Cove

Spring Boating Checklist

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

As the weather warms up, it is time to pull your boat out of storage and prepare for the upcoming Lowcountry fun in the sun on the serene Hilton Head Island waterways.

aerial view of boat in the marsh riding off to the sunset with the sun reflecting in the water

Just as you prepared your boat for storage for the winter, it is imperative to properly prepare for the spring and summer seasons. Below you will find a boating checklist of items to complete prior to your first cruise. Of course these items may vary depending on your specific boat or type of boating you prefer.

Important Documents

Make sure your license, registration, and any other important documents are all up to date and easily accessible. If you plan to have a new driver this year, make sure they are on the appropriate documents and educated about the boat and safety precautions. In South Carolina, you must have a South Carolina Certificate of Number (registration) and validation decals to operate your vessel legally on South Carolina waters.

Life Jackets

All vessels must be equipped with U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, called personal flotation devices (PFDs). Make sure your PFDs are all in good condition, the appropriate sizes for everyone, and that you have enough for all passengers.

Flares and Fire Extinguishers

Ensure all fire extinguishers are the right class for your boat, fully charged and mounted in their proper locations. Confirm that your flares have not expired as well.

Ropes and Lines

Inspect your lines closely and look for any damage or deterioration, replacing any that don’t pass your examination.

Charts and Maps

Be sure your charts and maps are ready when you need them the most by updating any software or replacing when necessary.

fishing boat with three men and fishing poles passing by in the water

Kill Switch

There is one thing you certainly don’t want to overlook, the kill switch. Test your kill switch to make sure it is working properly for when you need it to.

Emergency Lights

Test all your emergency lights and signal devices to make sure they are all still working and change any batteries as needed.

Running Lights

Turn your running lights on and off to make sure they are in working order and replace any bulbs as needed.


Inspect and clean all battery connections. Replace the battery if it is older than three years.

Hoses and Clamps

Examine all hoses and clamps and replace any as needed.

rear view of a center console boat with one captain riding through the marsh


Examine your propellers closely, looking for any dings or cracks that could cause vibration and damage your drive train.


Look for cracks, distortions, or blisters and be sure to have them repaired early prior to turning into a larger issue.

Fluid Levels

Check all fluid levels from your engine oil to your power steering reservoirs.


Check for any signs of deterioration or wear, like cracks or corrosion, on any cables and replace as necessary.

Fuel Lines, Filter, and Tanks

Inspect fuel lines, check and replace all fuel filters, and check your tanks.

Electrical Connections

Make sure all electrical connections are tight and look for any dirt or damage.

Bilge Pumps and Blower

Check your pumps for leaks, float switch operation, and any corrosion. Make sure the blower in the bilge is performing as expected.

Not quite comfortable to complete this list on your own? Did you know that the Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina offers boat maintenance services? Maintenance services include, but not limited to; oil change, fuel filter change, outdrive lube, carburetor rebuild, spark plugs, impellers, battery jump, battery install, zink removal/ replacement, and more upon request.

The marina also offers extensive interior and exterior cleaning services as well as painting and special transportation services. The skilled professional staff work hard to ensure that Shelter Cove Marina maintains its stature as one of the East Coast's premier boating destinations.

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