It's Memorial Day Weekend and many people are getting ready to hit the lake for the first time this year. If your boat has been sitting idle for awhile, there are some things you need to do before cranking her up for the first time.

First, if you don't have one, get a manual for your engine. I just bought one for my old Evinrude engine for around $35. Some sites where you can purchases these are kencook.com, marineengine.com and iboats.com.

Check the oil, change if necessary. Be sure to check the oil filter and oil in the outdrive.

Inspect your batteries. Corrosion? Remove it. Make sure the batteries are fully charged.

Check the fuel lines and make sure they're clear and that the hoses are in good shape. If the hoses or the priming bubble are showing signs of wear or they're cracked, replace them.

Remove the prop and check for tangled fishing wire or anything else that might be tangled up in it. Make sure your prop is in good shape.

Check and replace spark plugs if needed.

Test your bilge pump and your aerator (if you have a livewell).

Check the fire extinguisher and make sure it's not expired (more info).

Inspect personal flotation devices. Make sure you have the required number on board.

Make sure the trim/tilt is working properly, the steering wheel turns as it should, everything powers up as it should, etc.. You'll also want to check your lights to make sure the bulbs are good.

These are just basic things to do before you take your boat out for the first time. Of course, always remember to boat safely and watch out for the other boaters on the lake!

Have a GREAT Memorial Day Weekend!!