If like most cottagers you are shaking with anticipation to set foot once again on that serene piece of property, the opener is just the beginning and something not to be taken lightly. Here are some reminders you may wish to consider when opening up the cottage this spring.
An overall inspection of the exterior of the cottage and its surroundings is always a good idea. This can aid in determining if there was any damage caused by the winter storms and if any minor or major repairs are needed on the exterior of the cottage. You may also be able to see where the little fury friends have found their way into your cottage and block those entrances to avoid any further damages. Don’t forget to look up; branches that may have fallen in the winter months may still be hanging precariously. If this is the case call a specialist to have them removed, to avoid further damages to the cottage or harm to a family member or friend.
Unfortunately on the first back to the cottage no one usually wants to clean but it is a great way to minimize rodent problems and clean up any other dust you may find. This is also as great opportunity to look for any broken propane lines or water lines which may be hidden behind the stove and fridges or other large furniture.
Before you run out and turn the water on to have that wonderful hot shower after all that work remember to verify the foot valve on the water pump is in fact clear of any debris and that the filter does not need to be changed. Also verify that the location of the foot valve is the same, as if left in in the winter, ice can move it a fair distance. We would recommend that you verify on that first walk around the cottage that all water pipe, fresh and dirty, be checked and any cracks repaired so that there are no surprises when that water pump kicks on or the first visitor to the bathroom flushes the toilet.
When arriving at the cottage for the first time this year it is usually a little hectic and a nice way to remember all the things to do is to make a checklist, which can be used year to year and modified as needed. Here are a few safety items to remember to add to your lists:
- Replace the smoke and CO detector batteries and if the units are past their shelf lives replace them and remember to always test them.
- Test all flash lights and replace as needed
- Verify your first aid container and replenish all bandages and gauze with new and have all creams and ointments up to date.
- Verify fire extinguishers are charged, if not get new ones or recharge them if applicable.
- Remove old food, rusty cans and bubbled cans ( from freezing) that were left from the closing and verify all expiration dates.
- Inspection of Docks and Decks, with extra attention to loose boards, hand rails and steps to avoid any messy mishaps.
The above are just a few ideas but you can amend your list to your specific requirements.
The safety of your family and friends is of the utmost importance and a trip to the cottage on a fully serviced watercraft is a must. Make sure that your watercraft have been tested by a licensed mechanic and that there are no hidden surprises that may cause turmoil for the first trip out onto the water. Always verify that all your safety equipment is valid and that you have the appropriate age fitting life jackets on board and that your have insurance verification in the watercraft if required. Your watercraft license is now mandatory don’t leave home without it!
One last little note on the opener and it is a very simple thing to do but most or all of us forget to do it. Call to have your services reactivated if you have deactivated them for the winter. Some service providers can take up to two weeks to connect your seasonal phone line or electricity. Having a phone line is essential to any cottage for those unwanted emergencies.
We hope that you all have a great day and year at the cottage in 2013 and that the above helps a little in avoiding any surprises that no cottager wants. To learn more about InsuranceHero.ca products and services, including cottage and boat insurance, speak to one of our advisors today!