Now that the air is finally warming up, boat owners are getting anxious to start dewinterizing their boats and get ready for some summer fun! Boat owners will soon be starting to remove their boats from storage at their storage unit or boat docks. However, there are some very important spring boat maintenance steps you should take before putting the boat back into the water. The last thing you want is to be all ready for a fun day, only to be disappointed when an engine fails and you can’t start your boat properly.
Tips for Dewinterizing a Boat
Always consult your owner’s manual if you aren’t sure where to begin to dewinterize your boat. Below are just a few tips for getting your boat ready for the spring:
- The first step in removing your boat from storage is to take the cover off and give it a visual inspection. Check for things like loose rivets, and make a note of any repair work that will be needed. Also check the screws, bolts and fittings to make sure they are properly tightened and secure.
- Make sure that you thoroughly clean the boat inside and out. Use a scrub brush with a long handle to wash the entire boat completely, and then dry it with absorbent towels. After the exterior is clean, apply a fresh layer of wax to protect the surface from UV damage. You’ll also want to wipe down the interior, cleaning the upholstery, vinyl, windows and chrome.
- Check the engine. If the oil and oil filter were not changed when the boat was put in storage, then plan to do so. Add the correct oil additive to keep your engine running clean. It is normal for smoke to come out of the engine when it is started due to certain winterization steps.
- Check the battery and top off any battery fluids. Use a battery tester to check out the amps and volts of the battery. If the battery is not running properly, you will need to get it replaced.
- Clean and inspect the distributor for corrosion. Reconnect all connections. Plan to flush the cooling system and replace old antifreeze with equal parts of water and coolant.
- Inspect the fuel lines for cracks and plan to change the fuel filter.
- Inspect the belts on the boat by looking for soot and worn belts. If a belt “gives” when you press down on them, then it is probably time to replace the belts.
- Don’t forget to inspect the safety equipment, too, like the signaling devices, first aid supplies, life preservers and fire extinguishers.
- Once you have finished the spring boat maintenance, do a trial run to check that the engine, transmission, battery and gear shifting are running smoothly.
Now that you have dewinterized your boat, it is time to enjoy smooth sailing for the next several months!