De-winterizing Your Boat: How to Prepare a Boat For The Warmer Months
Winter is nearly over. You know what that means-Lazy days, long hot nights, and time spent vacationing with loved ones, is just around the corner! The warmer months could hardly be any better. That is, unless you have a boat, of course. Owning a boat is a fun way to bring family and friends together doing what you love out on the water, whether that be fishing, water skiing, or just simply cruising. However, owning a boat also comes with added responsibility. As a boat owner it is your job to ensure your boat is equipped and ready for a fun and safe day out on the water. But what happens if your boat has been sitting idle during the winter months? How do you de-winterize it? In this article we share with you some handy tips about how you can best prepare a boat for a season of fun after a winter of hibernation.
Tip #1 – Check the engine
After a winter of sitting idle, a thorough engine check is in order. In order to prepare a boat for use across the warmer months it’s essential that you perform an oil change as well as replace the oil filter. This will help ensure your pride and joy is running as efficiently as possible, while simultaneously removing any potential sludge build-up. It’s also a good move to inspect the out oil drive to ensure that this is clean so that you know your engine is ready to start.
Tip #2 – Refill the cooling system
The first thing you want to do is check the hoses for cracks. Also, make sure you empty the strainer. Once everything is looking good, go ahead and refill the system. Pro tip: to prevent your boat’s coolant line from freezing over, drain the cooling system before hibernating your boat for the winter.
Tip #3 – Check the battery
No one wants to tow their boat all the way to the water’s edge only to realize the battery is dead. In order to properly prepare a boat for regular use a battery check should be carried out. Use a battery tester to check level of your battery’s charge. Obviously, if it’s low than it needs to be charged. However, if the battery won’t hold a charge than you need to replace it. Pro tip: top up battery fluid levels using distilled water.
Tip #4 – Check water pumps and thermostat
After approximately every 200 hours of operation, you need to replace the water pump on the impeller. This is what keeps your engine cool. So, it is important that it is in good working order. Otherwise, you could overheat and seize up your boat’s engine.
Like the water pump, the thermostat helps to cool your engine. That is why it also needs replacement every 200 hours of use so that it remains in good working order.
Tip #5 – Prepare your safety gear
This is potentially the most important tip on the list and one that could save a life. As a boat owner it is your responsibility to ensure your passengers’ safety. That is why it is crucial to check that you have all of the required safety equipment like life jackets, EPIRBs, fire extinguishers, horns, flares, etc. What’s more, you need to ensure that your safety equipment has not expired or is damaged in any way.
Following the tips outlined above should have you out on the water safely and successfully in no time. Happy boating!