It may be cold outside now, but spring is just around the corner. Be prepared to properly dewinterize your boat for the upcoming boating season! During the chilly winter months, your boat is put away, safe and sound thanks to winterization. But once it starts to warm up again, you’re going to want to get that bad boy out and ready for some springtime fun. You might be thinking to yourself, ‘How do I dewinterize my boat?’ With just a few easy steps, you’ll be dewinterized and ready to go in no time!
Step 1: Check Your Boat’s Battery
Most batteries last between 4 and 5 years. Hopefully when you winterized your boat in the fall, the battery was unhooked. Before hooking the battery back up, you will want to test it. To test, make sure you fill the battery with fresh, distilled water. If it test well, you’re ready to reattach the wires.
Tip: before re-attaching the wires, scrub each wire post clean of dirt and rust. A small wire brush should would perfectly. Also, coat the posts in lithium grease to protect them from further erosion.
Step 2: Test All of the Electronics
This may seem tedious but it’s important to check every knob, switch, and any other electrical equipment on your vessel. No matter how small or insignificant a switch may seem, double check it now to save yourself the hassle later. Now that the battery is running, switch it off and see if the automatic bilge pump float switch works.
Step 3: Change the Oil
Thoroughly checking your vessel’s engine is essential during the dewinterization process. First, check the oil levels for the engine. If you didn’t change the oil before winterizing, now would be a good time to do so. While you’re checking oil levels, don’t forget to check the outdrive oil as well. In addition to oil, double check that your boat has the proper amounts of power steering fluid and coolant.
Finally, while you’re checking out the engine, make sure you look for leaks below the engine area and visible cracks or wear in fuel lines.
Step 4: Fill the Cooling System
You probably flushed out the cooling system prior to winterizing your boat. Now is a good time to fill it back up with equal parts antifreeze and water. If you did not flush it out before winterization, drain the mixture and refill. It can’t hurt to check the hoses for any cracks or wear while refilling.
Step 5: Check the Gas Tank and Fuel Lines
During the winter months, it’s possible that your gas tank and fuel lines will develop rust. The fuel lines are especially susceptible to damage due to the cold temperatures, sometimes causing cracks. Inspect them careful to ensure nothing needs to be replaced.
Step 6: Check Belts for Wear and Tear
The belts that connect the engine and the motors are at risk during the cold months of being damaged. To check your belts, push down slightly with your hand to see if they feel loose. If there is too much slack, this is an indicator it’s time to replace the belt. Another indicator it is time to replace them is if you see black sloot around the machinery.
Step 7: Check Safety Gear
Last, but certainly not least, it is important to check all of your safety gear before venturing back out on the open water. Make sure there is no damage to any safety gear and that nothing has expired. Replace as needed.