How Do I Get My Boat Ready for Spring?
Spring is here and it’s finally time to get your boat wet again. But before that, you’ll have to go through the process of de-winterization (provided you were smart enough to winterize it in the first place). A lot of boat owners hire a professional ship repair company to handle this process afraid they won’t be able to handle the task. Others choose the DIY way and tackle the task themselves.
What you need to do to de-winterize your boat will depend on how you winterized it in the first place. The more steps you followed the lower the chance something will be wrong once you remove the cover in the spring.
Here are the basic boat winterization steps:
- Change the engine oil and filters
- Replace the fuel filters
- Stabilize the fuel tank
- Change the lower unit oil
- Remove and service outdrive unit
- Service, remove and charge the battery
- Clean the battery, remove and mark the cables
- Lubricate the steering system and shifting cables
- Cover the boat
Now that’s out of the way, here’s how to properly de-winterize your boat.
Keep the User Manual Close:
Ideally, you should have a copy of the manufacturer manual that came with your boat. If not, you can easily find one on the internet. You will need to use it to properly replace parts and fluids. Never take anything on the boat apart without consulting your manual.
De-Winterize the Engine:
The engine is the most important part of the boat and usually the one that requires the most maintenance. If you did not follow the winterization checklist and failed to replace the oil in the engine, you should do it now as there’s a high chance that different byproducts like water or acids have built up. This is important to prevent corrosion and wear that can lead to poor fuel efficiency, loss of power or complete engine breakdown. While you’re at it, replace the oil filter as well.
Empty the cooling system. Use a coolant solution with half-part water and half-part coolant to replace the antifreeze. Replace the batteries and run the engine to make sure everything is working properly.
Inspect the Hull:
Check the hull for chips, cracks, and blisters as well as chalky residue. If you find any issues, take care of them. If there’s chalky residue on the boat, oxidation could be responsible. Find out what the level of oxidation. Restore the gel coat and maintain it to fight off this issue.
Clean the Hull:
Use a cleaner meant for marine use to clean the exterior of your boat. Apply a fresh coat of wax afterward. Consult the gel coat maintenance plan for instructions.
Polish the Metal:
The metal elements enhance the visual appeal of your boat. If they are dull, it will not look as nice as it did when you first bought it. Neglecting it can also result in the material’s integrity being compromised. Use specialized polishing agents to clean these surfaces.
Test the Electronics:
Take all the electronics back on the boat and test them to make sure they are operating properly. Run tests on the GPS, radio, compass, depth finder and other electronic devices.
Contact Propulsion Controls Engineering at 1620 Rigel St, San Diego, CA 92113, USA; 619-235-0961 or visit www.pcesandiego.com