As the season begins, many boat owners feel the pain of boat de-winterization. The preparation process is a tedious exercise for boat owners since you have to get back to the water. Many boats go into hibernation especially the cold winter months. For the better functioning of your boat, it requires you to maintain your boat constantly. Though it is a painful exercise to winterize then de-winterize your boat, it is very important for the longevity of your boat.
It is very costly in terms of time and money if you fail to maintain your boat properly. You will be asking yourself questions especially when problems arise on why you did not take the necessary steps of maintaining your boat before the season began. Therefore, it is important during the spring to maintain properly your boat to avoid problems like being stranded out when you are on the water. I know you might be interested in going out to enjoy yourself but you can spare one weekend for your boat inspection. Take your time to clean it up and do repairs because this is the investment that will give you money.
All you need to do is to decide at least one weekend to set it aside for boat inspection. It is very important to note that boats are of different models and makes in which different procedures for the testing of equipment are required. It is therefore to have a guide on how to de-winterize your boat. You can also contact your owner for the manual that provides additional instructions.
1. Remove the Cover of the Boat and Do the Inspection
You all need to prevent your boat during the winterization. I, therefore, advise that you should have a constant check on the ultrasonic pest repellent that is operated by the battery. By doing so, you will not have worry about chemicals which are very dangerous contained by other repellents. The chemicals are very toxic, especially to your pets and children. Sometimes you may decide to take preventive measures during the winterization in which it becomes very difficult to prevent critters, for instance, birds and rodents from entering your boat. They use small gaps available to enter your boat. Therefore, it is very important to check your boat for mice nests and other chew marks that might be available. Therefore, it is advisable for your boat always to have a cover. If you do not own a boat cover, you can buy from Amazon. For instance, Heavy Duty Marine Grade Polyester Boat Cover from Amazon ranges from $ 64.98 to $199.99. You can choose the best quality that can do well for your boat.
2. Do the Thorough Cleaning of the Canvas, Carpeting and the Vinyl
You need to use a shop vacuum to vacuum that might be in the boat. You can easily find some dust that might have crept underneath. All you need to do is cushion the vine and the bimini top. Make sure that the vinyl is in good condition-check any cracks or tears in the upholstery of the vinyl. Invest in the seat covers because of they a play a major role in the protection of the vinyl from the UV rays. Before the boat begins to operate, clean all the canvas and vinyl. You can purchase the best vacuum from Amazon. You can get the cheapest shop vacuum from $48 such as the Stanley wet and dry vacuum.
3. Make Sure the Engine and the Propeller are in Good Condition.
Check the Engine, the propeller and the hull of the boat. Check if there are any damage and dents. If you decide to replace the oil filter, and then make sure, you change the oil. This process is very essential as it keeps your boat from corroding. It also prevents the engine from rusting. During winter months when temperatures are very high, it is easy for the fuel pipes to crack. If the engine of your boat has black soot, then think of investing in a new belt.
When de-winterizing your boat, you need to check for the following:
- Check the levels of the power steering fluid
- The levels of the coolant
- The levels of the engine leaks
- The cracks in the fuels lines
Therefore, it is very essential to have the line replaced in time. You need to do it in time and not the weekend when you get out. You need to shop the best from Amazon.
4. Checking the Cooling System and Antifreeze Replacement
During winterization, you are required to flush out the cooling system. Now you are required to refill it. After this, replace the antifreeze. It is important to use diluted coolant during this process. Check the hoses to ensure that it is in good condition. You need to check if there are any cracks that could cause leaks in the later time. Ensure that there is not any visible leakage.
5. Battery Replacement
The best battery for a boat usually has a lifespan of between 4 and 5 years. You need to re-fill the battery and check its charge. You are required to refill the battery with the distilled water. The battery always should have a strong charge. The next thing is to remove the wires from the charge posts and checks if they have any rust. Use a small wire brush to remove the dust. The battery should be charged for at least 12 hours. To prevent the charge posts from rusting further, you need to coat them using lithium grease.
6. Check for Any Kind of Damage
Check the inside and outside parts of the boat for any damage. Check if there are any new dents that could make the boat to leak. If you notice any new dent then record the date, it happened.
7. Wax and Polish your Boat
Some people take this to be unimportant activity but the fact is that it is very essential if you want to maintain the longevity of your boat. Polishing prevents the boat’s windshield and fiberglass from structural damage. During the season, dirt always accumulates, it, therefore, important to use a power washer to get rid out it. After a thorough cleaning, you can wax to make it look good. If it happens for your boat to have teak, then use the power wash to clean it. Before taking the boat into the water, be sure that the oil takes time to absorb into the wood.
8. Testing of Electronics
It is essential to test all electronics before going back to the water. The device that needs to be checked includes navigational devices such as GPS and depth finders. Ensure that the lighting system is properly installed. Make sure the switch is properly tested. This step is essential after connecting the battery and ensuring that it is working well. The next step is turning off the battery. This will enable you to check if the bilge pump float is properly functioning. If the test fails, then you are required to carry out a correction measure. This will help you to avoid any danger while on the water.
9. Trailer Maintenance
If you are planning to haul for a long distance, then it is important to maintain your trailer the same way you maintain your boat. Ensure that the trailer’s tires have enough pressure. This means that the boat is going to sit on the trailer for the whole period hence need for the tires to have enough pressure. The signals of the trailer should also be checked. Make a replacement to the bulbs because they have been there for the whole season. This will give you an assurance for the best performance for the coming season. Apply a lubricant where you think it is important.
10. Check the Safety of Safe Gears
This step is very important. It is vital to check the availability of safety equipment. It should be new without any damage. Check the following:
- Check the number of floatation devices.
- Check the expiry date of the fire extinguisher.
- Check if the lights in the cabin are working well.
- Check if the signaling types of equipment are properly working
11. Check Steering Cables
It is very important to for check for the steering cables when you de-winterize your boat. The steering is required to be a bit stiff. Do not force the steering to turn if it refuses because forcing it will cause more damage. The reason why sometimes it refuses to turn might be due to the blockage that occurs in the steering tube. All you need to do is to remove the hard grease, which is blocking it. Later apply the grease and then place the steering cables back.
12. Finishing touches
Add back any accessories that you might have taken out. Such accessories may include the following: inflatables, fishing, and grills. Ensure you have all the necessary safety jackets and First-Aid kits. You can also decide to buy yourself, marine speakers. You can easily buy them Amazon. They are available from as low as $20.77.
Maintaining a boat is sometimes very expensive. It is important to be with a friend who has knowhow about boats. They can easily spot any problem the boat might have. Therefore, it is important to be careful because repairing it in the future is very costly.
You should always maintain your boat. It takes a lot of effort especially in the winter when you put it away and bringing it back to water and in summer when you keep it by ensuring it has a good shape. It is very costly in the future if you do not follow the above steps. It is also important to keep it away from floods and any areas that seem to be dangerous.