With warm weather making its way ever closer, lots of people are ready to get out onto the water in their boats and personal watercraft! While most boat owners think carefully about storage options and winterization when it’s time to say goodbye to summer, it’s just as important (if not more so) to think carefully about de-winterizing before your first launch in the spring. Follow these tips to make sure your first launch is memorable for all the right reasons!
- Do a complete visual inspection.
First, see how your craft looks overall. Your hull should be free of chips, blisters, and chalky residue. If you have blisters in your hull, repair them. Chalky residue could indicate oxidation, meaning that the gelcoat needs to be repaired. Look for any cracks or chips in your paint and the body of the boat itself to be sure your craft is in tip=top operation shape!
Do a visual inspection of your engine, mechanical panel, and check the status of any trim work. Make sure affixed trim is secure and rust-free. Check your canvas and vinyl for tears, mildew, and dirt. Repair any tears and then clean each with an appropriate cleaner.
Check your windshield wipers, if your craft is so equipped. Replace if necessary and clean your windshield. In order to make certain that your boat has the optimum visual appeal, clean the brightwork and polish! Although this may seem irrelevant, long-term neglect of these components can result in the materials becoming compromised, resulting in later damage and lower craft values.
- De-winterize your engine
This is probably going to take the longest and be very messy! If you’ve run your boat all summer, there will be build up. Have your manufacturer’s manual with you for this process! If you didn’t change the oil at the end of the season last year, do it now. Engine build-up can cause decreased power, corrosion and excessive wear. It can also really take your fuel economy down! Change the oil filters, and the oil in the transmission or outboard motor’s lower unit, too.
Flush the engine’s cooling system, and replace the old antifreeze with a 50/50 mix of coolant and water per the manufacturer’s specs.
Finally, replace your batteries and perform a thorough engine test.
- Check your electronics
GPS, compass, depth finders, and any on-board electronics need to be tested to make sure they are in working order. Repair or replace as necessary.
If you aren’t up to these tasks, we can help you out here at SouthPointe Marinas. Click on the CONTACT link and let us know you need help and we’ll get you scheduled right away – and up to par in plenty of time to enjoy the early part of the season!