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Spring into the Boating Season

February, the dead of winter, and here we are thinking spring. We asked Roland Pootmans and his wife, Danielle, if they would give us their cruising “tips”.   "Roly", a former chief pilot for Quebecair and Nationair, is a recent retiree from Flight Safety where he trained pilots on aircraft simulators and Danielle is a former travel consultant. They know the islands well as they have cruised them since 1971. They have a slip in Gananoque and on most weekends they are usually found anchored in a secluded bay.

Originally from Beaconsfield, Quebec, they have many years of cruising experience.   Their first long voyage away from the Thousand Islands in 1992 was on board their Alberg 37 yawl, Lanikai, to Long Island Sound and the Cape Cod area. In 1993/1994 they sailed Lanikai to the Bahamas and back. In 2000 they made the move from sail to a trawler, an Oceania 30.

Danielle and Roli are quick to suggest these are the "basics" and they expect readers will have additional information to share through our “comments” section.

Spring into the Boating Season

By Roland Pootmans

Spring is slowly approaching and it may be time to think about what needs to be done on our boats so that we may enjoy a trouble free summer. Boatyards are often swamped with work later on so it may be worthwhile to have all that work done now when they are not too busy. Hopefully your boat and engine[s] were put away clean with fresh oil and grease as required by the Owner’s Manuals.

What are some of the tasks we can do to ensure a happy summer? Here is a short list of "at home" and "on the boat" -  "to do's".

At Home

NOTE:  All Canadian motorized boat operators MUST have a Boating license by September 15th, 2009.  There are also new regulations in NY State regarding safe boating courses for children over 10 years old.

  • Check your shore power connectors for burns which may indicate they need replacement.
  • Ensure all required safety equipment is onboard and up to date.
  • If the boat is on a trailer at home make sure bearings are well lubed and tire pressure is up. Make sure all the trailer lights are working properly.
  • Make sure your boating license and/or registration is up to date.
  • Review your boat insurance policy and update if required.
  • Make sure you have fuel spill insurance coverage especially if you boat or refuel in the USA.
  • Check expiration dates on flares and extinguishers and replace or recharge if required.
  • Verify that all your dock lines, anchor line and fender lines are free of chafe and replace if necessary.
  • Update or replace old charts and guidebooks.
  • Check your shore power connectors for burns which may indicate they need replacement.
  • Ensure all required safety equipment is onboard and up to date.
  • If the boat is on a trailer at home make sure bearings are well-lubed and tire pressure is up. Make sure all the trailer lights are working properly.

On the Boat

  • Inspect and lubricate seacocks to ensure their smooth operation as well as checking the integrity of the hose clamps.
  • All below water level hosing should be double clamped.
  • Inspect bilge pumps and floats for proper operation.
  • Make sure the engine sea strainer is clean and properly secured.
  • If equipped with an outdrive, inspect the outdrive bellows for cracks, especially in the folds and have it replaced if necessary.
  • Check and clean knot meter pitot tube
  • If equipped, check the bilge blower and hose for leaks
  • Check the steering for smooth operation and control cable condition. Lubricate where required.
  • Inspect fuel lines, filters and fittings and check for leaks.
  • Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of the battery cables. Fill battery cells to the proper level with distilled water. 
  • Check running lights for proper operation.
  • If so equipped, make sure that the STERN DRAIN PLUG is installed prior to launch. Sadly many boats have sunk because their masters forgot this!

For Sailboats

  • Check all standing and running rigging.
  • Lubricate all turnbuckles and retighten to spec once the boat has been back in the water for a few days.
  • Check all sails are in good condition. Now is the time to have those repairs done at the sail loft.
  • Check all halyards for chafe and replace if necessary.


Provisioning for a Cruise

by Danielle Pootmans

Note: Take small jars and bottles on board and take advantage of  lightweight plastic containers.

The Galley Pantry (Small jars) Basics Head & Sleeping Cabin
Saucepans Coffee Liquid Detergent Personal Toilet Articles
Frying Pan (Teflon) Creamer Powder Soap Toilet Paper
Kettle Tea Scouring Powder (nylon) Facial Tissue
Coffee/Tea Pot Peanut Butter Clothes Pegs (many) Shampoo
Pressure Cooker Honey J Clothes Bar, Ivory Soap
Pot Holder Jam Clean Rags Shaving Cream
Toast Rack Oil Sponges Razor
Spatula Vinegar Drying-up Cloths Mirror
Long tools for BBQ Ketchup Plastic bags (all sizes) Talcum Power
Can and Bottle Opener Mustard Twist tags Suntan Lotion
Corkscrew Relish Fantastic Needles
Mugs Salt & Pepper (add rice) Bucket Scissors
Plates Spices Rubber Gloves Tweezers
Bowls Bouillon Cubes Aluminum Foil Bug Screens
Glasses sugar (in container) Old Foil Plates Sleeping Bags
Cutlery Small amt. Flour Wooden Matches Pillows
Cutting Board Biscuit Mix Fly Swatter Blankets
Good Knives Instant Rice Mosquito Repellent Sheets
Salad Bowl Pasta Shopping Cart & Bags Towels
Colander/Strainer Popcorn/chips etc. Nets for Fruit & Vegetables Facecloths
Plastic containers & tops Wine / Spirits   Beach Towels
Plastic glasses (Cocktail) Soft Drinks   Laundry Bag
Disposable, Cups & Plates Juices   Brush & Dustpan
Stove Fuel Canned Fruits    
BBQ, Gas & Lighter Vegetables   First Aid Box
  Soups   Alcohol
  Meats   Antiseptic Cream
The Ship Puddings   Band-Aids
1st Mate gloves Condensed Milk   Butterfly Bandages
Books Cereals   Prescriptions
Playing Cards Crackers    
Games (Magnetic parts) Cookies    
Paper Dried Fruits & Nuts    
Pens Long Life Milk    
Ship's Papers Cocoa    
Flashlight Sauce mix    
  Instant Oatmeal    
  Cream of wheat    
  Baking soda (odors/baking)    
  Baking Powder    

I hope that this short checklist will help in getting your boat and you, ready for the season ahead. Wishing you all a long hot summer. See you on the River.

Roly and Danielle Pootmans

Lanikai II

Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


Mark Bond
Comment by: Mark Bond ( )
Left at: 11:25 AM Thursday, February 19, 2009
Thank you fro this exceptional article. Every boater should print this & take it with them prior to launching. It will prevent a host of headaches! Last summer, as I walked down the main dock in Abay headed for lunch, I watched a nice new 25 foot cuddy being launched, on my return it was on its side & 3/4 submerged with a half dozen guys around it wondering who forgot that stern plug! Who hasn't ALMOST forgotten it!
Tony Pleasants
Comment by: Tony Pleasants ( )
Left at: 10:47 PM Thursday, April 28, 2011
Hello to Roly from Tony Pleasants.