Spring is in the air and that means that summer is right around the corner!
It’s only a matter of time before boaters start to embark on their first sail of the season. If this is your first season as a boat owner and you’re unsure of how to de-winterize your boat, you’re in luck. Here are a few tips on how to get your boat ready for the water, quickly and efficiently.
Create a Check List
Keeping a checklist and detailed maintenance logs are two of the best ways to help ensure a speedy de-winterization. Your goal is to make sure your boat is in top working order, so special attention must be paid to all of the boat’s mechanical functions.
Here are a few things to consider:
Cooling System. Hopefully, you will have emptied your cooling system prior to putting your boat away for the winter. If the system is empty, simply fill it back up. You might want to double-check the system for cracks as well.
The Battery. Make sure all cables are reattached and that no terminals are damaged or corroded. If your battery uses water, ensure that it is filled up. Then use a battery tester to ensure that it is still in functioning order.
The Fuel System. It’s always a best practice to top off your fuel tank and change the fuel tank at the start of each season. The cold winter months can be hard on the fragile winter hoses in a fuel tank, so make sure to inspect that they aren’t cracked and are still in working order.
Also pay attention to the distributor. Ensure that connections are restored and that no corrosion occurred during the winter months. Your boat’s belts will also need to be inspected and may need tightening.
According to About.com, here are a few other things to take into consideration:
- Change the spark plugs
- Lubricate the engine with WD-40
- Check all hoses
- Check power steering/cables
- Test the bilge pump
- Replace the drain plug
- Check rudder and shafts
- Inspect the prop
- Test the horn
- Test the VHF radio
- Check the trim
- Inspect personal flotation devices
- Check the fire extinguisher expiration date
- Make sure the anchor in on board
It should be noted that the above should only serve as general suggestions. Always make sure to read your boat’s owner’s manual to ensure that your vehicle has been properly de-winterized. If in doubt, consult with a boat mechanic.