Spring has sprung, and summer is just around the corner! Marking this lovely, friendly weather approved time when we begin to indulge in many water activities. If you are a boat owner, you are most certainly now preparing your boat to be season ready. Salt air and extreme temperature changes can cause corrosion, and wreck havoc on your boat. De-winterization of your boat is a crucial step now if you wish to have it ready for the summer. If you are a new boat owner, and still getting familiar with the process, you can have a technician service the boat for you. If you feel comfortable doing it yourself, we have prepared a few tips on how to de-winterize your boat to help you along the way.
How to De-winterize your boat
Inspecting your boat’s engine, and making the necessary adjustments is crucial when you begin to de-winterize your boat. Inspect the following, and make changes if necessary:
- Visually inspect the engine
- Change the plugs
- Change the distributor cap
- Check engine blowers
- Change the oil filter
- Check oil levels
- Check outdrive oil (must be clean)
- Change the engine oil
- Check for leaks
Use a battery tester to make sure the battery is still able to hold a charge. Common battery life is around 5 years old, and may require replacement if it isn’t able to hold a charge. Once you’ve established the battery is good, re-fill it with distilled water and check the charge. Next, detach the wires from the charge posts to clean off any corrosion. Coat the posts with lithium grease to prevent corrosion, and reattach.
- Cooling System
As a rule of thumb you should always drain the cooling system when winterizing the boat. This prevents the coolant line from freezing.
- Check for cracks, holes and empty the strainer
- Refill the cooling system with equal parts water and antifreeze.
- Fuel System
- First, inspect the fuel line for cracks, and if necessary replace. Low temperatures will often times cause the lines to crack.
- If you filled up the tank before winterizing the boat to prevent moisture from settling, drain the stale gas, and refill.
The belts connecting the engines and motors tend to wear off when you are not using your boat. To see if your belts need replacement due to wear, press down on them, and if a belt has too much slack, replace it.
- Electrical systems
Test all the switches, knobs, and electrical systems on the boat. Flip the switches on the helm and cabin. When the battery is running, switch it off and see if the automatic bilge pump float switch works.
- Safety gear
Make sure all of your safety equipment is in good working condition, and ready to be used. Inspect your personal floatation devices, check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher, and test the lights. Check the signaling equipment, such as horns, flares, and whistles.
Check your boats manual for any further instructions when de-winterizing your boat for this upcoming season. Even the smallest detail that is missed can have a big impact on the overall function of the boat, and your safety.