Spring Commissioning

Flowers are blooming, the trees are filling out with leaves, and the chill of winter is starting to be forgotten.  That’s right, it’s spring!  For any boat owner in the mid-Atlantic region, the emergence from winter also means it’s time for a yearly ritual: spring commissioning.

Note: This post originally appeared on our sailing blog, The Bay and Beyond, which now redirects here.

Since Ellie and I bought our boat in the middle of winter, we didn’t get much time to do the things you’d normally do after buying a boat.  Things like doing inventory, getting rid of old junk, and cleaning would have to wait several months until we could spend an afternoon on the boat without our winter jackets.  We quickly winterized the boat and closed her up.

Fast forward to March, and we finally started to see some consistently warm weekends, signaling that it was finally time to get to work!  Our first order of business was to unpack all of the lockers and storage cubbies on the boat.  The previous owners left a ton of stuff behind, and while luckily some of it was stuff we needed anyways, a bunch of it was old junk.  In the end, we had three boxes of trash, old crusty cleaning supplies, and engine fluids.

Next up was some good ol’ spring cleaning.  Before we started to put everything back into the storage spaces, we took some time to vacuum out the old dust and dirt and wipe up accumulated grime.  From bow to stern, we gave her a good interior cleaning.

Ellie scrubs some interior fiberglass under the port side settee

By the time April rolled around, it was finally consistently warm enough to start de-winterizing all of the boat systems; in most cases, that meant flushing protective antifreeze out of places that could be damaged by freezing water.  First–and perhaps most importantly–we got the head up and running.  Since our slip is at a private residence we don’t have access to a restroom.  A functioning head on our boat allows us to spend a full day doing boatwork!

While Ellie moved on to flushing our fresh water system, I turned my attention to our auxiliary engine: a Universal M25 diesel.  Over the course of a couple weekends we got a bunch of engine commissioning work done:

  • Raw water impeller change
  • Oil and oil filter change
  • Fuel filter change
  • Transmission fluid change
  • Heat exchanger zinc change

Happily, after all the engine work she started right up on the first try!  That means we’re on the home stretch of commissioning work; we’re guessing we just have one weekend of work left.  We’re starting to get pretty excited about going out for our first shakedown sail!

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