Fall has come and it is the end to another glorious boating season. It is time to consider your boat storage options for the year, and you want to know how to best take care of your aquatic investment. Read on and we’ll take a look at what you need to do to prepare your boat for its dormant months.
The first step is, as you would imagine, cleaning the entire boat right out. All of your gear for fishing, every rod, prop, all the tackle, accessories such as sonar and GPS, and any clothing or other items that can become saturated with water. This is an important step: check your fridge and remove all beer. Leaving this stuff in your boat only increases the chances that something will go wrong, and not just with your boat but with your other items as well. Take them inside your home or garage and store them separately.
With everything out it is time to give it a good once over. Clean the exterior and the interior. Grab a vacuum and give every nook and cranny a thorough going over. You never know what may be laying around, if it is a potential food source this could lead to damage from pests. My mother always said not to put your toys away dirty and my mother was usually right.
For maintenance you have to start with all the stuff that requires power. This is because all those things, the expensive batteries for example, are going to have to come inside. Open the hoses on your live well to drain any water out of there. Then turn on your pump for just a few seconds to push all water out of it.
Next remove your spark plugs and use a can of spray fog for engines. Then replace your spark plugs and turn the engine over to coat the entirety of your cylinders. Note that you should not actually start the engine. With this done you can treat your fuel with any stabilizer you choose, just be sure it is a reliable brand you can trust. Follow the mixing instruction for your specific brand; don’t forget to give it a good shake if you’re pre-mixing it in a can!
Now you are ready to drain your engine’s lower unit. This must be done as any water that has built up over the season can freeze and cause damage. Basic engine oil draining techniques apply. Get a pan ready before you start. Loosen the bottom screw and it will start to drip. Then start to loosen the top screw, this will cause the oil to start dripping faster. Give it a 15 minute break to let it drip right out. Start refilling your lower end from the bottom screw, this will allow it to push any crud, water, and dirt out the top of the engine. Once the oil starts to overflow it is full and you can put the top screw in. Then replace the bottom screw and you’re all done. If you haven’t done so, now is the time to take all your gear and batteries inside.
Following these simple steps can increase the life of your boat dramatically. Be sure to follow them next fall, and every year, so that your boat storage is as proper and complete as possible. Happy boating!