De-winterizing your boat
We’re getting closer to that time of year. The days soaking up the sun, enjoying sunset cruises, fishing, and playing on the lake are not too far way. It’s the time of year when we dust off our boats and think about everything we need to do to get our boats ready for the water.
There are several things you’ll want to do before firing up your boat for the first time this spring and taking it out on the water. We’ve prepared this brief, easy-to-understand and easy-to-implement guide to help you through the process of how to de-winterize your boat and prepare for the spring start.
1. Check the battery
Cold weather and sitting idle for a period of time can be hard on the battery of your boat. Hopefully your battery was unhooked during the winterization process in the fall. When you’re ready to test your battery, make sure it is filled with water and test with a battery tester. If it tests well, clean off any corrosion from the terminals and install. If it does not test well, you will probably save yourself time, headaches and money by going ahead and replacing it.
2. Test the electronics
Test all the switches, knobs, and electrical equipment on the boat. Flip the switches on the helm and cabin, being sure not to skip even the most insignificant one (all electrical systems are connected). Now that the battery is running, switch it off and see if the automatic bilge pump float switch works.
3. Change the engine oil
Properly checking the engine is paramount to de-winterizing your boat. Make sure the oil levels are correct first. If you didn't change the oil before storing the boat for the winter, now would be the time to do it and you’ll also want to replace the oil filter. Don't forget about the outdrive oil, too. Fill or change those as needed.
Here are more things to check your engine for when de-winterizing your boat:
• Power steering fluid levels
• Coolant levels
• Leaks below the engine area
• Visible cracks or wear in fuel lines
4. Fill the cooling system
The colder temperatures can be hard on the lines and hoses of your boat. You’ll want to do a thorough visual inspection of all your fuel lines, cooling system hoses and connection clamps to be sure there are no cracked lines and all connections are tight. Your cooling system lines should have been drained in the winterization process to avoid freezing and breaking. The fuel tank should have been left full through the winter with a fuel stabilizer additive. This will prevent any moisture from getting into your fuel tank and causing problems. Check your fuel filter to ensure it is clean and clear. It should be replaced periodically to keep your boat running smoothly. If everything looks good, the cooling system can be refilled and the gas tank can be topped off with fresh fuel. Any lines or hoses with cracks or that appear to be dried out and brittle should be replaced.
5. Distributor, Plugs and Carburetor
You’ll want to remove your distributor cap and make sure the distributor has not been corroded over the winter. You will also want to check all your spark plugs to make sure they’re in place and tight. A plastic bag may have been placed over your carburetor during the winterization process. This is to keep it clean and prevent moisture from entering.
The last thing you’ll want to check to make sure your boat is ready for the water is your belts. The belts connecting the engines and motors can quickly wear during the off-season. You can check these manually with your hands for tears in the fibers. Push down on the belt slightly to see if there is too much slack as well. If a belt feels loose when you push on it, it is likely worn and should be replaced. Another indication of a worn belt can be black soot around the machinery, it may be time to switch out your belts for new ones.
7. Starting the Engine
Now, you’re ready to start the engine. Make sure you have water to the drive if you are starting your boat on land. Once you have it running, you’ll want to do another walk-around to make sure there are no leaks anywhere and that all your gauges are reading at the desired levels. You’ll also want to make sure the bilge pump and blower are running.
8. Make sure your safety gear is in order.
This step is vital (potentially life-saving, as a matter of fact). Make sure that your safety equipment is prepared, not expired, and not visibly damaged.
Check for the proper amount of flotation devices.
Read expiration dates for fire extinguishers.
Test all the lights in the cabin and on deck.
In case you need it, organize your paperwork.
Check the signaling equipment, such as horns, flares, and whistles.
De-winterizing your boat is an essential part of its life cycle—don't overlook it!
Maintaining your boat is a full-time gig. Putting it away for the winter, getting it back on the water, and keeping it in good shape throughout the summer takes a lot of work. If you don't follow through with each step, you could miss something that costs a lot of money to repair in the future.
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful.
To request a quote, you can get in touch with us or go online:
· Phone/WhatsApp: (561) 672-7897
· Online quote: www.simplifiedinsurance.net/online-quote
Simplified Insurance Agency – Insurance Made Simple!
Connect with us on: