Winter tough on boats

Published 7:59 am Friday, February 5, 2010

Wintertime is tough on boats, motors and gear.

When we have wet, cold weather like this, there are a few things boat owners need to do to protect their equipment.

Remember to always lower your outboard after getting home this time of year. Putting it in the down position drains the water and keeps water from accumulating in the lower unit. Water freezing in the lower unit can bust housings and mess up seals.

Always charge your deep cycle batteries immediately after getting home. It is also good if you have a charger that will maintain the battery between long intervals of non-use this time of year. Never charge a depleted frozen battery and remember that charging immediately after use will prolong the life of your deep cycle.

Another important to thing to keep check on is if you have a water separator in you fuel line make sure you check that or replace the filter every month. I’ll usually just empty it to get the water out of the system and replace it after the season.

Water in the fuel system can block tank intakes and cause your boat to stop running or run rough. Keep your bearing buddies on your trailer pumped up with grease to keep water out. Topping them off when you get home will force out any water before it has a chance to freeze.

Make sure bilge and live-well pumps are drained, because neglecting to do so can cause lines to bust, some which are hidden that will really put a damper on your day next time out.

Simple wintertime maintenance can make the difference between a good day on the water and a really bad day. This time of year it could also be the difference between coming home to your loved ones on time or going to the hospital for hypothermia or having to be rescued by the Coast Guard or local emergency personnel. Be prepared, don’t be in a hurry and use common sense. Mother Nature is not very forgiving this time of year.