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AKMully

Maybe a stupid question but...

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I just recently purchased my first bass boat and I was wondering if it is safe to leave in the water at my pier for a week or two at a time.  I plan to take the sonar unit inside and lock it up and cover it while it is docked but at our lake place I planned to just leave it in the water during the week when we are not there and I don't need to charge the batteries.  Is there any danger in this or should I be good to leave it docked when we are not at the lake?

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As long as you have a bilge pump that can turn on and off automatically as needed to pump out any rain or leaks the boat may develop, there shouldn't be too much of an issue.  There are thousands of boats kept at marinas all over the country.

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Okay so follow up dumb question.  It does have a switch on the console but I'm unsure if the bilge pump is automatic.  It's a 2007 Bass Tracker PT175TXW.  Is there a way to test this short of dumping some water in the bilge or does anyone know if an automatic pump is standard for this model?  The place I bought it the guy said he thought it would be but didn't seem to confident in that assessment.

 

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Couple of issues.  I routinely leave my boat in the water (and it's glass) for weeks at a time.  There's no problem with that at all.  I have the ability to leave my master power on but turn off the power to everything else...graphs/powerpoles/Trolling motor etc.  BUT....I always have my onboard charger plugged in to shore power because with the power on, there will always be a small draw on the batteries.  By leaving the Master Power on, my auto bilge will function if we get rain.  In my old boat with no auto bilge, I would have to go down to the boat every once in a while and turn on the bilge pump to keep it empty of rainwater.  The best way to tell if you have an auto bilge is first to look at your switch.  Mine has an "Auto" setting.  I also have 2 bilge pumps.  1 is auto and 1 is manual and from my switch I can run 1 - 2 or both.  The other way to tell is to get in the bilge and look at the pump.  It will have either an electric switch or a float on the housing if it is an automatic.  The easiest way is to power on the boat on the trailer and use a garden hose to put some water in the bilge.  This will also tell you that if you do have an auto it is working.  The float type often clog and even though you have it, it won't pump.  With all that being said, I am always at the lake when the boat is plugged into shore power no matter where I go.  

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Awesome, thanks for the info guys.  I'll be doing the hose test this weekend to see what I'm working with.  Unfortunately for me we are only at the lake on the weekends or vacations so I won't be able to easily check on the boat every day.  

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You can also forget to screw your drain plug in the next time you launch then start scratching your head when your boat starts to pee out the side :) NOT speaking from personal experience.

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21 minutes ago, redux said:

You can also forget to screw your drain plug in the next time you launch then start scratching your head when your boat starts to pee out the side :) NOT speaking from personal experience.

No joke, I'm kind of OCD so I can only imagine I'll be checking that stupid plug all the time because I just can't help myself 😁

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Make yourself some checklist, even if it's just mental, and follow the same routine every time every time. 

 

Every time  you connect the vehicle to the boat.

    Motor trimmed up and locked in place

    Tires have recommend air pressure

    Tung latch has safety pin in

    Safety chains properly connected to vehicle

    Tung jack properly secured out of the way

    Trailer lights connected and all lights working properly, including brake and turn signal

    Tiedown straps properly securing the boat to the trailer

    Now would be a good time to put the drain plug in if your state allows it.

    Do a visual inspection of boat and trailer to make sure nothing is where it can come off or blow out, and all required safety equipment is in the boat.   You can forget tackle and use the boat, but you can't forget safety equipment.

    If you have an onboard charger, make sure all lights show batteries fully charged and unplug drop cord.

 

 Every time you launch the boat.

    Disconnect tiedown straps

    Trim motor up and remove tilt locking device

    Verify/install drain plug.

    Depending on how steep the ramp is, you may or may not want to undo winch strap.

    If you towed a long distance and have bearing buddies, now would be a good time to give them a little shot of grease to make sure the centers are floating on the spring.

   If you have trailer brakes, set your locking device so you can back up.

   Don't forget to set your park brake and put vehicle in park before you get out.

 

Every time you load the boat on the trailer.

   Don't forget to set your park brake and put vehicle in park before you get out.

   Secure tie down straps

   Set your trim locking device

   Remove drain plug.

   Visually inspect the boat to ensure everything is secured and Power switch if off on console.

 

Every time you disconnect the boat from the vehicle.

    Trim motor down

    Plug up charger and make sure it shows it's charging.

    Trailer lights and chains or disconnected from vehicle.

 

These are just some of the key things you need to make sure you do every time.

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1 hour ago, Way2slow said:

Make yourself some checklist, even if it's just mental, and follow the same routine every time every time. 

 

Every time  you connect the vehicle to the boat.

    Motor trimmed up and locked in place

    Tires have recommend air pressure

    Tung latch has safety pin in

    Safety chains properly connected to vehicle

    Tung jack properly secured out of the way

    Trailer lights connected and all lights working properly, including brake and turn signal

    Tiedown straps properly securing the boat to the trailer

    Now would be a good time to put the drain plug in if your state allows it.

    Do a visual inspection of boat and trailer to make sure nothing is where it can come off or blow out, and all required safety equipment is in the boat.   You can forget tackle and use the boat, but you can't forget safety equipment.

    If you have an onboard charger, make sure all lights show batteries fully charged and unplug drop cord.

 

 Every time you launch the boat.

    Disconnect tiedown straps

    Trim motor up and remove tilt locking device

    Verify/install drain plug.

    Depending on how steep the ramp is, you may or may not want to undo winch strap.

    If you towed a long distance and have bearing buddies, now would be a good time to give them a little shot of grease to make sure the centers are floating on the spring.

   If you have trailer brakes, set your locking device so you can back up.

   Don't forget to set your park brake and put vehicle in park before you get out.

 

Every time you load the boat on the trailer.

   Don't forget to set your park brake and put vehicle in park before you get out.

   Secure tie down straps

   Set your trim locking device

   Remove drain plug.

   Visually inspect the boat to ensure everything is secured and Power switch if off on console.

 

Every time you disconnect the boat from the vehicle.

    Trim motor down

    Plug up charger and make sure it shows it's charging.

    Trailer lights and chains or disconnected from vehicle.

 

These are just some of the key things you need to make sure you do every time.

Fantastic post Mr Jones ! 

 Should be pinned.

 

And I'm all about "The List"

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

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2 hours ago, Way2slow said:

Make yourself some checklist, even if it's just mental, and follow the same routine every time every time. 

 

Every time  you connect the vehicle to the boat.

    Motor trimmed up and locked in place

    Tires have recommend air pressure

    Tung latch has safety pin in

    Safety chains properly connected to vehicle

    Tung jack properly secured out of the way

    Trailer lights connected and all lights working properly, including brake and turn signal

    Tiedown straps properly securing the boat to the trailer

    Now would be a good time to put the drain plug in if your state allows it.

    Do a visual inspection of boat and trailer to make sure nothing is where it can come off or blow out, and all required safety equipment is in the boat.   You can forget tackle and use the boat, but you can't forget safety equipment.

    If you have an onboard charger, make sure all lights show batteries fully charged and unplug drop cord.

 

 Every time you launch the boat.

    Disconnect tiedown straps

    Trim motor up and remove tilt locking device

    Verify/install drain plug.

    Depending on how steep the ramp is, you may or may not want to undo winch strap.

    If you towed a long distance and have bearing buddies, now would be a good time to give them a little shot of grease to make sure the centers are floating on the spring.

   If you have trailer brakes, set your locking device so you can back up.

   Don't forget to set your park brake and put vehicle in park before you get out.

 

Every time you load the boat on the trailer.

   Don't forget to set your park brake and put vehicle in park before you get out.

   Secure tie down straps

   Set your trim locking device

   Remove drain plug.

   Visually inspect the boat to ensure everything is secured and Power switch if off on console.

 

Every time you disconnect the boat from the vehicle.

    Trim motor down

    Plug up charger and make sure it shows it's charging.

    Trailer lights and chains or disconnected from vehicle.

 

These are just some of the key things you need to make sure you do every time.

That's a great list, thank you!  I will be converting this into an excel sheet that I can keep on the boat for reference when I need it.

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Experience is a cruel teacher but....you will never forget the lesson learned.  :lol:

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Just a few questions to think about.

 

How far away from the closest ramp is your lake property?

 

How long would it take you to go and launch, say on friday evening, and pull out on Sunday afternoon. I did this for years when my wife and I had a permanent campsite.  Just have a second person with you (which is just smart if you are new to boating). Once you launch off the trailer have them drive the tow vehicle and trailer back to your home.  You drive the boat and tie up at the dock. 

 

How secure do you feel about the lake area?  Remember the engine key is most likely one of just several standard Mercury ignition keys.  Any theif can walk into a Mercury dealer and purchase them easily. I have done that in order to have several key rings with boat keys and truck ignition keys. When I boat, I use 2 floating key rings for our outings. I never carry my regular key ring as it does not float.

 

Many of my fellow campers left their boats in a field at the campground. When they got there they launched it once and left it on a dock all weekend, pulling out before they left.  Doing this means they were better able to secure the boat and trailer better. They also could charge batteries at their campsite as well. I recommend not using the standard pin in the trailer latch but rather use one of the different locks available to secure the trailer.  I like the ones that cover the entire ball area but I have also used the ones that just lock the trailer latch.  You can also use a chain and lock, like you would to secure a bike in a bike rack, by threading it though the tires and rims and around the frame. 

 

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I never take my plug out of the boat exc at the dealership where they require it (for good reason).  By not taking it out, I never forget to put it in.  Not that that ever happened before . . .

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11 hours ago, MickD said:

I never take my plug out of the boat exc at the dealership where they require it (for good reason).  By not taking it out, I never forget to put it in.  Not that that ever happened before . . .

FYI....Michigan has some new boating regulations this year and you will have to take your plug out.  

 

When it comes to boating this spring and summer, it's all about keeping a clean vessel. The new rule is requiring boaters to avoid leaving any aquatic organisms that could attract invasive species, such as bitterling, bighead carp and black carp. 

According to the DNR's website, the existing law required boaters to get rid of aquatic plants off of their watercrafts and trailers before were are placed in the water. 

The new law would have boaters to do the following before they leave a site:

  • Remove all drain plugs from ballast tanks, live wells and bilges. 
  • Drain all water from live wells and bilges. 
  • Ensure that the watercraft, trailer, and any conveyance used to transport the watercraft or trailer are free of any aquatic organisms, including plants.
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1 hour ago, TOXIC said:

FYI....Michigan has some new boating regulations this year and you will have to take your plug out.  

 

When it comes to boating this spring and summer, it's all about keeping a clean vessel. The new rule is requiring boaters to avoid leaving any aquatic organisms that could attract invasive species, such as bitterling, bighead carp and black carp. 

According to the DNR's website, the existing law required boaters to get rid of aquatic plants off of their watercrafts and trailers before were are placed in the water. 

The new law would have boaters to do the following before they leave a site:

  • Remove all drain plugs from ballast tanks, live wells and bilges. 
  • Drain all water from live wells and bilges. 
  • Ensure that the watercraft, trailer, and any conveyance used to transport the watercraft or trailer are free of any aquatic organisms, including plants.

And believe me - they are looking to ensure there is compliance.

A-Jay

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2 hours ago, TOXIC said:

FYI....Michigan has some new boating regulations this year and you will have to take your plug out.  

 

When it comes to boating this spring and summer, it's all about keeping a clean vessel. The new rule is requiring boaters to avoid leaving any aquatic organisms that could attract invasive species, such as bitterling, bighead carp and black carp. 

According to the DNR's website, the existing law required boaters to get rid of aquatic plants off of their watercrafts and trailers before were are placed in the water. 

The new law would have boaters to do the following before they leave a site:

  • Remove all drain plugs from ballast tanks, live wells and bilges. 
  • Drain all water from live wells and bilges. 
  • Ensure that the watercraft, trailer, and any conveyance used to transport the watercraft or trailer are free of any aquatic organisms, including plants.

Yes, I saw these recently.  Thanks for reminding me.  I'll have to come up with a scheme to remind me to put it back in.  

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Just put it back in when you return home and before dropping your trailer of your tow vehicle.  No problem.

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On 3/29/2019 at 1:05 PM, Way2slow said:

Make yourself some checklist, even if it's just mental, and follow the same routine every time every time. 

Written checklists save your bacon. Don't trust the memory.

 

99% of the time your checklist confirms you've done everything you should have done.

 

It's that 1% that gets you.

 

They sound tedious and they feel inconvenient but there are good reasons for them. Personal experience. :whistle:

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This is a somewhat rudimentary version of the checklist but I created one based on the suggestions of @Way2slow.  This will be laminated and under my seat with the rest of my boat documents for quick reference.  Hopefully some of you guys find this useful as well.

Boat Checklist.xlsx

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43 minutes ago, AKMully said:

This is a somewhat rudimentary version of the checklist but I created one based on the suggestions of @Way2slow.  This will be laminated and under my seat with the rest of my boat documents for quick reference.  Hopefully some of you guys find this useful as well.

Boat Checklist.xlsx

Good for you for preparing to succeed rather than preparing to fail. 

Your list looks good to me; although you may not be greasing your bearing quite that often.

Checking them to ensure they are running cool(post &/or mid trip on a long one) may save you trouble down the road.

 Boat plug, motor height/trimmed up appropriately, charger plug removed & installed in a timely manner, all seem to be  routine sources of the sad face for many a boat nick. 

 My advice is to make your 'procedure' for hooking & unhooking, as well as launching & recovering your rig, into a 'routine'. One that you can and will repeat - every time.  This can make the process easy, & effective which is what you'll be wanting. No points for speed during any of this. 

Problems can arise early mornings & late afternoon or night.  Low light, Pre-trip excitement & post trip fatigue are all your arch enemies when it comes to getting it right & being safe. 

Staying in the moment and having your mind on the task at hand, will always be beneficial.

Not doing so along with complacency, can prove costly & hazardous.

 :smiley:

A-Jay

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Once you establish your routine it's not advisable to let someone "help" despite the best of intentions.  That's the sure fire #1 way to foul something up.  As a guide, I launch alone all of the time and politely refuse any help even from experienced boaters.  With that being said, you can still mess up.  I was launching one morning pre-dawn at a ramp on the Potomac and everything was going fine.  Went through my mental checklist and was ready to go.  Prepped the boat, tied off to the dock and got back in the truck to float the boat off.  Backed into the water and the boat floated up like normal.  Tapped the brakes and it didn't ease off the trailer.  Backed in a little more and tapped the brakes again and it started to move but jerked to the right, away from the dock and went over the trailer fender and I knew immediately what happened.  I had forgotten to release my starboard ratchet strap.  A 21 foot boat now swung 180 degrees while still strapped to the trailer.  I was in a pickle.  Only option was to totally submerge the trailer (and the exhaust of my truck) and head into the water to try and get it back on the trailer so that I could pull up and release the buckle.  Took me a while but I got it done.  Mental kick in the nads for being an idiot.  Forgot to take my wallet out of my pocket and I was soaked up to my neck.  Only good thing was after I launched, I went back to the truck for a change of clothes and found my money clip laying on the ground with $200 bucks.  It got pulled out of my pocket when I took my phone out.  

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19 minutes ago, TOXIC said:

Once you establish your routine it's not advisable to let someone "help" despite the best of intentions.  

Solid Advice ^^^^^^^^

I fish solo 95% of the time and while there's what I would call 'light' traffic at the ramp when I launch, it's often busy upon my return.  Good Samaritan's will routinely 'come to my rescue' when they see me approaching a dock myself, looking to 'Help' me - I always ( and as polite as possible) thank them but ask them to stand back.

 I've got it down pat and have no idea what the ability level or experience the person looking 'to help' has. 

Might be the human who needs 8 attempts to get his boat trailer backed down the ramp and 10 tries to get the boat actually on the trailer.  I'm good thanks. 

When done, during the small talk, I will usually ask them to be at the dock again tomorrow morning a 3 Am, to help me launch. . . . 

:smiley:

A-Jay

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9 hours ago, A-Jay said:

Solid Advice ^^^^^^^^

I fish solo 95% of the time and while there's what I would call 'light' traffic at the ramp when I launch, it's often busy upon my return.  Good Samaritan's will routinely 'come to my rescue' when they see me approaching a dock myself, looking to 'Help' me - I always ( and as polite as possible) thank them but ask them to stand back.

 I've got it down pat and have no idea what the ability level or experience the person looking 'to help' has. 

Might be the human who needs 8 attempts to get his boat trailer backed down the ramp and 10 tries to get the boat actually on the trailer.  I'm good thanks. 

When done, during the small talk, I will usually ask them to be at the dock again tomorrow morning a 3 Am, to help me launch. . . . 

:smiley:

A-Jay

3AM? There is such a time as that in the mornings?

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Just now, Log Catcher said:

3AM? There is such a time as that in the mornings?

Also known as "If you don't let me get back to sleep, they'll never find your body."

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1 minute ago, Log Catcher said:

3AM? There is such a time as that in the mornings?

No, not really.

I just made that up in a feeble attempt to sound dedicated. 

I actually get tons of 10 pound smallies on topwater right in front of the boat ramp at high noon.

Me & Clint Eastwood.

:smiley:

A-Jay

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