As parts of the country still struggle under blankets of snow and ice, boaters everywhere are turning their thoughts to their boats and the impending boating season. Even though it seems far off in some places, spring is rapidly approaching and in some cases is already here. Tournament season is in full swing in the southern states, and the recent nationwide television coverage of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa, OK has weekend anglers and pros alike itching to get back out on the water chasing the big ones.
Back in October, we showed you how to properly winterize your boat for storage during the winter months. Like we said then, fully winterizing your boat will make for a much easier time in spring. Now that spring is rapidly approaching, it’s time to shift gears, get the rig out of the garage and start prepping it for an excellent 2013 season.
It is a good idea to keep the batteries indoors during extended storage if possible. If the batteries have stayed in the boat all winter, they will need to be flushed out, topped off with distilled water and fully charged. Use a wire brush to knock off any residue from the terminals and then apply a terminal protectant to deter and more corrosion or residue build up. This should be done continuously throughout the year as an added measure to keep the battery operating at peak performance for an extended amount of time.
If you used T-H Marine’s Sterndrive Winterize System to winterize your outboard before storing it for winter, this step will be a lot easier. If you didn’t then it’s definitely time for a full engine inspection and tune up, which may require taking it to a dealer or marine engine specialists if you are not comfortable doing the job yourself. It’s always better to get a trained professional to work on an important part like the outboard motor, and it ensures that you won’t get out on the water with an unreliable engine holding you back.
Hopefully if you have big-ticket electronics like depth finders and GPS units, these items made it inside for the winter. Now is the time to program and update all electronics both new and old. Some new units do not require annual updating, but many do. Consult your owner’s manual to find out what steps are needed to keep your electronics in proper working order.
When pulling the boat back out into the sunlight for the first time in months, it’s not unusual to find a few unexpected things that weren’t there before it was put in storage. Always check for animals that may have nested in corners and crevices over the winter months, as it is not unusual to find rodents and even house pets under the cover. Even if you vacuumed out the boat during winter preparations, it can never hurt to give it another thorough cleaning on the inside and outside. Now is a good time to take a visual inspection of the entire boat and the trailer, noting any cracks or scratches that weren’t present before storage. If you have not done so, this is an ideal time to wash and wax the exterior of the boat as well as take a detailed inventory of all accessories, tackle and gear.
Like winterizing your boat, springtime maintenance is pretty simple and can be done in one afternoon by a single person. If a boat is thoroughly cleaned, prepped and inspected twice a year then you have a much better chance of getting out on the water with fewer issues.