Remember to insure your boat!
1) Install a high quality bilge pump. We suggest Lovett 6 or 12 volt.
2) Hook up a battery charger when your boat will be unattended for several days. If you develop a leak, the battery might run down from the constant running of the bilge pump.
3) Don't store your boat at the dock or on a trailer with a cover over it. During a windstorm, the cover may chafe the boat. Don't travel down the road with a cover on your boat. Again, the wind will rub the cover against your nice shiny finish.
4) Make sure you know how to properly winterize your engine to prevent freeze cracks.
5) Make sure your trailer stays on its hitch while traveling down the road. Use the right size ball. Use safety chains or cables. Tighten the nut on your hitch with an impact wrench, hand-tightening is often not good enough to keep the ball from coming off. Don't go anywhere if the hitch does not seem to be seating properly.We know someone who only had a couple blocks to go at a slow speed when his hitch was not locking down. The trailer came off the hitch and the boat rolled and was "totalled." He was shocked beyond belief, as he had just received delivery of the boat.
6) When traveling, tie your shaft and strut to the trailer with ropes or ratchet straps. This will keep your boat from leaving the trailer if you are in an accident.
7) Don't use a junky old trailer. Check your tires and wheel bearings every time you gas up. If the wheel bearings get as hot as a cup of coffee, they are too hot. Don't use a trailer with rollers, as they will crack your planks or punch right through.
8) If your boat sinks at a marina, don't allow them to lift it out while it's full of water. The weight of the water will damage the boat. You need to supervise this, as the young kids that work at the marina may not have much experience with wood boats. You will need a large pump, bigger than a bilge pump.
9) Put the drain plug back in the boat before launching.
10) Don't launch your boat without soaking it first. Fill it with water and let it soak until it is no longer leaking. This takes at least 24 hours, unless you have a new bottom. It's ready to launch when you have a few drips coming through from all over the bottom, but water is not running through any particular spot, and it is not running out the shaft opening. After you haul the boat out of the water, it will probably stay swelled up for 2 weeks, unless you live in a very dry climate.