We’re getting closer to that time of year. The days soaking up the sun, enjoying sunset cruises, fishing, and playing on the lake are not too far way. It’s the time of year when we dust off our boats and think about everything we need to do to get our boats ready for the water.
There are several things you’ll want to do before firing up your boat for the first time this spring and taking it out on the water. We’ve prepared this brief, easy-to-understand and easy-to-implement guide to help you through the process of how to dewinterize your boat and prepare for the spring start.
Engine Oil and Fluid Levels
One of the first things you will want to do is check your engine oil. If your engine oil was not changed before putting your boat away for the winter, it should be changed now and filled to the appropriate operating level. You’ll also want to replace the oil filter and change out your gear lube if that was not changed out in the fall. If your boat has a power steering reservoir, you’ll want to check that as well and be sure it is filled to the appropriate level.
Cold weather and sitting idle for a period of time can be hard on the battery of your boat. Hopefully your battery was unhooked during the winterization process in the fall. When you’re ready to test your battery, make sure it is filled with water and test with a battery tester. If it tests well, clean off any corrosion from the terminals and install. If it does not test well, you will probably save yourself time, headaches and money by going ahead and replacing it.
Fuel, Lines and Connections
The colder temperatures can be hard on the lines and hoses of your boat. You’ll want to do a thorough visual inspection of all your fuel lines, cooling system hoses and connection clamps to be sure there are no cracked lines and all connections are tight. Your cooling system lines should have been drained in the winterization process to avoid freezing and breaking. The fuel tank should have been left full through the winter with a fuel stabilizer additive. This will prevent any moisture from getting into your fuel tank and causing problems. Check your fuel filter to ensure it is clean and clear. It should be replaced periodically to keep your boat running smoothly. If everything looks good, the cooling system can be refilled and the gas tank can be topped off with fresh fuel. Any lines or hoses with cracks or that appear to be dried out and brittle should be replaced.
Distributor, Plugs and Carburetor
You’ll want to remove your distributor cap and make sure the distributor has not been corroded over the winter. You will also want to check all your spark plugs to make sure they’re in place and tight. A plastic bag may have been placed over your carburetor during the winterization process. This is to keep it clean and prevent moisture from entering.
The last thing you’ll want to check to make sure your boat is ready for the water is your belts. If a belt feels loose when you push on it, it is likely worn and should be replaced. Another indication of a worn belt can be black soot around the pulley.
Starting the Engine
Now, you’re ready to start the engine. Make sure you have water to the drive if you are starting your boat on land. Once you have it running, you’ll want to do another walk-around to make sure there are no leaks anywhere and that all your gauges are reading at the desired levels. You’ll also want to make sure the bilge pump and blower are running.
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful. At Jones Bros Marine, we have a knowledgeable and experienced team in our service department. We can perform all of these tasks and more to ensure your boat will run smoothly all summer long, so you can enjoy worry-free time on the lake with your family and friends.
If you have any questions or would like to set up a service appointment, give us a call at 660-747-0388.