Preparing Your Boat for the Season
Nothing is more irritating that having a problem with your boat when it is full of family and friends ready for a weekend on the lake. Most such problems are caused because a boat is not properly maintained and prepared for the season.
In our area, most inboard or inboard/outboard boats are winterized during the cold months of the year. Have your boat dewinterized by a certified technician. When your boat is being dewinterized, that’s the perfect time to take care of some routine maintenance items that will prevent problems when you have that boatload of buddies.
Dewinterization of larger boats, houseboats, and yachts should include complete tests of water systems, marine heat and air systems, and impellers for all water-cooled systems including generator, heat & air, and engine(s). Inboard boats with V-drives or straight-shaft drives should have the shaft packing and props checked annually.
Engine oil should be changed every year or every 100 hours of operation, whichever is less. Outdrives should be serviced every two years. All impellers should also be replaced every two years. Gear lube should be checked at dewinterization to make certain the system is full – and gear lube should be changed every two-three years to ensure proper protection. If you keep your boat in a slip on the water, be aware that it will need to be pulled for both gear lube replacement and service of outdrives, so schedule accordingly. If your engine(s) utilized closed cooling systems, be sure your coolant is adequately filled.
All onboard systems should be thoroughly checked prior to the peak boating season – stereo, drive trim, trim tabs, windlass anchor systems (if your boat is equipped with a windlass), and all other options newer boats may have (such as Power Steps on swim platforms, electric folding arches, etc. If your boat has an electric or vacuflush head, make sure it is operating properly and that you have an adequate fresh water supply on your boat.
Check your batteries for a full charge. They oftentimes lose some of their charge during the winter months of non-use and may need to be replaced. Batteries should be replaced at least every three years.