6 Steps to Get Your Boat Back in Shape After Storage
Boating season is here and days of fishing, swimming, exploring and just relaxing on the water await. However, before you get out on the lake or river, there are several things you need to do to transition your powerboat from storage to active use.
Here are a few essential tips every boat owner should follow:
- Reconnect the battery.
One of the first things you’ll want to do when you get your boat out of storage is to reconnect the battery. Ideally, you’ve stored the battery in a protected place, like your garage or basement, and charged it for a few days each month to keep it in good working order. Check the battery terminals and clean off any debris before you reconnect the battery.
- Change the oil.
No matter how much you used the boat last year, sitting idle in the cold weather will have caused the motor oil to separate and thicken. It’s best to start the season with fresh oil in the engine. Make sure to change the oil filter at the same time.
- Install the drain plugs.
- Flush the cooling system.
Coolant, too, can lose its effectiveness over the winter. Before you get out on the water, flush your cooling system and replace it with a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze.
- Clean the fuel tank.
Sludge and debris can settle in the fuel tank over the winter. It’s best to clear this material from the tank before you use the boat to avoid any sudden, unexpected stops in the middle of the lake. To do this, insert a clear hose into the fuel tank and attach the other end to a pump. Pump the water and debris out of the tank into another container. Stop when there is no more debris visible in the hose.
- Check out your windshield wipers.
Storms can come up suddenly on even small lakes. Best to know that your wipers will be there when you need them.
- Install new spark plugs.
Some will tell you that you don’t have to do this every year, but I find it’s just as easy to replace the plugs when you’re getting your boat ready for the season. That way you don’t have to worry about them during the season.
Boating is a great hobby and makes a nice break from the stressful work environments. With a little early maintenance and care, your boat should be running nicely all season long.
Image by Yamaha WaterCraft and licensed by Creative Commons.