With the clock springing forward, it’s time to get your boat ready for the water. It shouldn’t take much time if you took a few simple steps to prepare it last Fall since the prep to get your boat ship shape is directly related to how well you winterized it.
Let’s look at a few basic things you can do to make this a safe and problem free boating season.
1. Keepin’ it cool. As a knowledgeable boater, you no doubt drained the cooling system before storing your boat for the winter. While our winters are usually mild, it only takes one night below 32 degrees to freeze the coolant line. Be sure to check the hoses for cracks and holes and empty the strainer.
If the hoses look good, go ahead and refill the cooling system.
2. Keep the engine running. Probably the most vulnerable part of your boat is the engine. If it hasn’t been run for a few months, you want to be sure it’s up to speed before hitting the water. Check your spark plugs and, as a preventive step, keep an extra set on the boat, just in case. The oil needs to be fresh and a new oil filter is essential. Don’t forget that the right oil additive can help ensure your engine stays clean and free of corrosion.
3. Don’t be fuelish. In order to prevent moisture from forming, most boaters fill the fuel tank when winterizing. Lack of use and changes in temperature may lead to cracks in the fuel line so carefully inspect it for damage. Change the fuel filter for as an addition safeguard. Fuel additives help prevent water contamination and fuel separation. If you didn’t use an additive when filling up the tank, the gas is probably stale. Drain the gas from the fuel tank and replace with quality non-ethanol with the proper additive.
4. Battery included. As part of your preparing to store your boat for the Winter, you should have disconnected and removed the battery. Before storing it for the season, always have it charged first. Take the time to clean the terminals and cable ends before putting back in place. It should be charged and, if you have any doubt about the life left in it, have it inspected.
5. Ahoy Hull! Your engine runs like the fine-tuned machine it is and your battery fires up first time, every time. Fuel and coolant lines look like they were just installed and your fuel is textbook clean. What could go wrong? Everything involved to make your boat move effortlessly through the water can be in working order but without the hull, you’re not going anywhere.
Keep your boat hull clean and in shape year-round and it’s a snap to prepare it for a new season. A freshwater wash helps discourage salt, sediment and barnacles from accumulating on the fiberglass surface. After cleaning, let your boat air dry before applying hull wax. Hull wax not only adds to the boats appearance but it is also an added protection for the gel coat and fiberglass underneath.