Winterizing your boat

The days are getting shorter and the temperature is cooling off quickly, some areas in the north already have snow! Before you get all wound up in the hunting season, you still have some work to do on your fishing season; winterizing your boat!

This is a good time to take care of some house cleaning after a long season of fishing. Go through the boat and get rid of all your trash. Open all the compartments and vacuum them out. Make sure there isn’t anything left that could attract ants, rodents, or other critters looking for a warm place to live. You might want to put out some ant bait and/or moth balls. If you don’t want the moth balls in the boat, wrap some in cheese cloth and hang them from the trailer to keep the four legged fiends away.

Now would be a good time to give the whole boat a good scrubbing too. Wash the boat and get that scum line off of it. Wipe down the interior with a good cleaner/protectant such as Bow to Stern. Scrub out the live wells with a 1 gallon water and 1 cup bleach solution. Now the hardest part, put a good carnuba wax job on the hull!

Let’s get to the mechanical side now with making sure all the water is out of your live wells and cooler. Lower the motor all the way down to ensure there isn’t any water left in the water jackets or pooled up in the lower unit. It’s a good idea to leave the motor down while in storage so precipitation won’t collect in the lower unit and freeze later on!

Inspect all of your steering cables and/or hydraulic lines. Take a good look at the throttle cable too, especially at each end. Go over the entire boat looking for loose screws, fittings, and connections. Make sure your batteries are topped off with distilled water. If your area gets well below freezing it might be a good idea to bring them in to a more temperate storage spot. If you’ve got a good multi-stage charger, you can leave it plugged in to keep your batteries in good shape.

Have you changed your plugs lately? Now is a good time if you haven’t. I’d also suggest changing the lower unit lube also. If you find indications of water or an excessive amount of metal filings at least you’ve got all winter to get it fixed.

All of this work now will give you a major advantage when it comes time to fish again! Next spring, when everyone else is doing their maintenance, they will find that all the mechanics are booked solid with a long wait while you’re out fishing! Now get to work!

BassBuff, Steve Reneau

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