My machinery prep starts the previous fall with the thorough inspection, cleaning, winterizing and indoor storage of my covered Sea-Doo RXT iS 260. Done properly, this fall work makes spring prep a breeze. My PWC is already clean and ready to go in to my Authorized Sea-Doo Dealer for its pre-season check up and service, including whatever repair or maintenance issues I may have identified during last fallís inspection. I always schedule this appointment at least a month before the May holiday weekend to avoid the pre-season rush and ensure that my dealer has time to do the job thoroughly and properly.
Each summer, I travel all over Ontario to explore different waterways. So my machinery prep also includes my Triton PWC trailer and SUV tow vehicle. On the trailer, I re-pack or replace the wheel bearings, check all tires (including the spare) for cracks, leaks, uneven wear and correct pressure. At the same time, I perform a complete visual inspection of the axle, springs, bunks, wiring harness and plug, winch, tongue jack, plus coupler and safety chains. I also check that my trailer licence plate is still well secured. I donít test the lights on my trailer until after I inspect and clean my SUVís electrical receptacle to ensure a good connection. Tip: donít forget, if youíve acquired a PWC thatís new to you since the previous season, to make sure it fits on your existing trailer and is still within its safe load bearing capacity.
Last but not least, I inspect my SUV, starting with the hitch package to ensure itís still reliable and secure. I also check the selected ball mount and ball for wear and size (I own other trailers that take different ball mounts and sizes.) When my summer tires go back on the SUV, they are inspected for wear and tear as well as the spare. I also review my vehicleís service record to see if itís time to change any fluids (especially transmission, with all the towing and launching into water that I do) or do any other service that would help make my summerís towing trouble free.
Next is my riding gear. This includes the various PWC accessories like bumpers, mooring ropes, tie downs, cover and touring bags, plus everything else I wear or use on my Sea-Doo watercraft, from sun lotion to my PFD. Once again, my habit is to inspect everything before itís put away the previous fall. That way, I have time to get repairs or replacements done in the off-season and often am able to find things at discount prices.
While all this preparation is essential for a safe, carefree summer on the water, nothing fires my anticipation as much as discovering new destinations to visit. Ontario has many great single-day PWC ride or multi-day tour locations, and here are a few of my favourites (Multiple town names indicate different access points to the same waterway). All have good launches as well as parking and Iíve included the waterway name in italics and brackets.
Eastern Ontario: Trenton or Kingston (Bay of Quinte/Adolphus Reach/North Channel); Gananoque or Brockville (St. Lawrence River/1000 Islands); Hawkesbury (Ottawa River east to Montreal or west to Ottawa); Pembroke or Mattawa (Ottawa River north).
Central Ontario: Hastings or Peterborough (Rice Lake/Otonabee River); Gravenhurst (Lakes Muskoka, Rosseau and Joseph); Huntsville (Lakes Vernon, Fairy and Peninsula); Dwight, Dorset or Baysville (Lake of Bays); Barrie or Orillia (Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching); Midland, Penetang or Parry Sound (Severn Sound/Georgian Bay south); Burleigh Falls or Long Beach (Kawartha Lakes); Port Stanton or Port Severn (Sparrow Lake/Severn River/Gloucester Pool).
Northern Ontario: Parry Sound (30,000 Islands/Georgian Bay north to Pointe au Baril); Spanish, Blind River or Killarney (North Channel of Lake Huron); Sault Ste Marie or Hilton Beach (shipping channel around St. josephís Island); North Bay (Lake Nipissing); New Liskeard (Lake Timiskaming/Ottawa River south).
This is just a partial list to get you started and only includes parts of Ontarioís four Great Lakes that also offer many ďbig waterĒ riding opportunities. With approximately 250,000 bodies of water classified as lakes, plus countless connecting rivers, Ontario has many linked, serviced and navigable PWC routes to explore this summer.
But your summer of PWC riding has to start with getting everything ship-shape, because the last thing you want is unreliable machinery or poorly functioning riding gear or misadventures due to lack of planning or knowledge about your destination. And now that all your pre-season prep is complete, the only other factor to consider is weather. So before each ride, visit these sites to prepare yourself for the vagaries of Mother Nature: Ontario forecast; marine forecast; National Date Buoy Centre; Sailflow; local Ontario weather radar; U.S. weather radar.