Once autumn arrives, you know that the boating season is all but over. That means you must think in terms of caring for your boat for the off-season.
While seasoned boat owners often rely on a boat maintenance checklist, new owners can flounder in the first off-season. They often forget crucial boat care and maintenance tasks because it’s all-new material.
The good news is that you can handle your boat’s needs before the winter weather arrives for good. Keep reading and we’ll cover the essentials boat maintenance tasks you should complete.
1. Engine Care
If you won’t run the engine for more than a month in the off-season, you need some fuel stabilizer. Ethanol gas performs a phase separation when it sits for too long. If you can start the engine with the leftovers, it’ll probably ruin your engine.
Put some stabilizer in the tank and run the engine for a minute or two.
2. Oil Change
Boats need regular oil changes anyway, so right before winter stowing is the ideal time for one. Again, let the engine run for a little while. It warms up the oil and improves the draining.
Fill up the oil. You should also take this opportunity to lube any linkages, hinges, winches, or chain drives on the ship.
Get serious about cleaning your boat from top to bottom, including the hull. This lets you examine every inch of the boat and look for damage. If you find some, arrange for professional boat repair.
You should thoroughly clean the interior as well. Remove any perishable food or it could attract rodents.
If you’re not sure about cleaning products, check out Vaughn Marine for some ideas.
4. Check the Propeller
You can check the propeller even if the boat will stay in the water. You’ll like life a lot better if you check the propeller once it’s out of the water and headed toward the dry dock.
Keep an eye out for cracks and dents. That kind of damage usually means a replacement. Also, check on the bearings and look for corrosion.
The last step before you walk away for the season is the cover. Go for a solid, waterproof cover without much wiggle room.
If you can store it indoors, that’s the best option. Areas with regular boating typically support at least one or two rack storage businesses that specialize in boats.
Off-Season Boat Maintenance Goals
Off-season boat maintenance tasks allow you to leave your boat alone all winter without guilt.
If you conduct the right engine maintenance and change the oil, your boat should start up without much trouble come the spring. Cleaning helps keep animals at bay and lets you take care of any necessary repairs.
The cover effectively seals out the inclement weather and discourages animal activity on your boat. Propeller maintenance helps you avoid delays when you’re ready for some water adventures in the spring.
Looking for more boating tips? Check out more articles like this one in the Lifestyle section.