It’s spring in southern New England and there are the usual frenetic swings of weather – sharp winds from the north with dawn below freezing, then a warmer westerly buffeting the docks and heaping up water in the marshes. The woodpile is stubborn with last night’s frozen sleet, but on the sunlit side of the fence crocuses start pushing their shoots up next to the windbreak.

Within a week or two, all the white shrink-wrappings and tattered blue tarps covering the boats will suddenly look out of date, wrong, misplaced. They’re no longer protections – they’re obstructions. We’re itchy to get under them. Sure, it might still snow, but Mother Nature won’t really mean it. So, the wrappers finally come off and we see the objects of our affection again after the long winter exile. It’s a nice moment. It might even be the one peculiar bliss that northern boat people can claim over those lucky enough to be able to run their boats year-round.

Shrink wrapped power and sail boats

A sailboat and a powerboat spent the winter side by side, and now they're ready for spring.

But seasons or no seasons, sooner or later everybody has to get down to the business of maintenance. and colleague site have accumulated some good articles on the subject, so without further ado here’s some solid spring commissioning advice for those who are about to pull back those covers.

Nothing says a boat is ready to rumble better than gleaming topsides.

Uncover it, clean it, hit the basics

Hit that gelcoat

Check and double-check the systems

Guard against galvanic corrosion underwater with sacrificial anodes like this shaft zinc.

Work up the wood

Protect against corrosion underwater

Emergency gear run-through

For a general, all-in-one list, read Get Your Powerboat Ready for Spring: 31 Hot Tips.

See you in the boatyard, and on the water. Fair winds this spring!