Captain’s Test: Spring Commissioning

Make sure you know the right way to do spring commissioning so you’re not spending extra money.

March 21, 2017

In spring, it’s always a good idea to make sure you know the right way to do things so you’re not spending extra money to pay for any preseason mistakes. Let’s get started.

1. Let’s start with the sacrificial anodes or zincs on your engine and propulsion system. How often should they be changed?
A. Every year
B. When they are 25 percent depleted
C. When they are 50 percent depleted
D. When they are 75 percent depleted

2. You know you should change your fuel-water separators annually, but when is the best time to do it?
A. Before the first run of the year
B. After the first run of the year
C. At the end of the previous season
D. It’s a judgment call


3. When is the best time to change the lower-unit gear lubricant in your sterndrive or outboard?
A. Before storing it for the previous winter
B. At the start of the season
C. After the first run of the year
D. Before the last run of the previous year

4. You’ve always cleaned your boat’s battery terminals and lubricated them with grease. Why is using grease not a good idea?
A. It makes the terminal slippery.
B. Certain types of grease can melt and liquefy.
C. Grease attracts dust.
D. If grease gets on the nut, you won’t be able to tighten the clamp.

5. A bilge bump is a critical piece of equipment on your boat. What’s the best way to test it?
A. Flip up the float switch to make sure it turns on.
B. Power it up manually to make sure it turns on.
C. Put in the drain plug, fill the bilge with water and wait till it kicks on.
D. All of the above


1. C. According to experts, 50 percent is the maximum.
2. B. You’ll get rid of any junk that was in the stored fuel and start with fresh stuff.
3. A. When you drain the lube, you can check for any white, milky fluid that would indicate water intrusion.
4. B. Different types of grease liquefy at different temperatures and can create a fire hazard. Use a dedicated product like Lanacote or CRC Battery Terminal Spray.
5. C. Filling the bilge with water is the best way to ensure that everything works.


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