Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Fall and Winter Boat Maintenance: For Your Boat
Here we are now entering or getting ready to enter October, to me the best time to be on the area lakes here in Missouri! Nights are cool and good for camping, the day time temperatures in the 70s. The days are getting shorter and the fish notice these changes and begin their fall feeding frenzy , as winter approaches. Winter, that time of the year that people are getting ready to either put their boats in storage , or getting ready for some of the best fishing of the year, FALL!
Either way there are some precautions to consider before winter gets here. If you want to keep your rig running tip top shape, then a few extra steps is certain!
My routine is as follows. Since I fish through the winter months a simple tune up , plugs, and servicing the lower unit. I check my water pump out 2 times a year, spring, and fall. If you run your rig long enough throughout the year, keeping your water pump changed keeps you from breaking down and costly repairs. If you don't fish as often, then I would consider changing water pumps every other year.
For those of you , who plan on storing your boat, consider the following tips as a helpful guideline to insure your boat is stored and in the right condition to be ready for use in the spring. If you don"t have a garage or storage, then make sure the boat is covered! You don't want the elements (ice and/or snow} , leaves and rain to get into the boat.
If your not going to use your boat for 2 months or so , then it is best to drain the fuel that is remaining in the tank.There is a fuel additive that will winterize your fuel, called stabilizer. Also here in Missouri there is a lot of ethanol in our fuel and depending on the ability of your rig to use this fuel, if it can, mine can't. Most of the premium gas in our area is free of ethanol and that is what I use in my boat. Ethanol supposedly draws moisture so , it is better to drain it out of your tank, if your lucky enough to have a motor that can burn it.
If your going to get out in the weather , you need to remember to dress warm and take plenty more dry clothes along , just in case you get wet. I usually try to keep good rain gear in my boat because a good rain makes a miserable trip if you have no rain gear. Take a cell phone and an extra battery , because in the colder months the boat traffic is a lot less and the chances of getting help is also a lot less.
Make sure you communicate with someone regularly so your where a bouts is known in case of emergency. Watch for under water obstructions , such as rocks, logs.gravel bars, shallow flats , etc so as not to damage your lower unit and strand your boat. Always make sure someone is aware of your location, and future plans for the trip as to keep someone alerted, in case of emergency.
If you keep your head about you, and practise boat safety on the water, I think you will find that fall, and winter fishing can indeed be warm, dry, and safe. I hope you are very successful this fall and winter. Keep your boat winterized and safe. Hope you find this as useful to your outdoor endeavours. Try the cooler weather fishing and you might find out, that fall and winter can sometimes contribute to that trophy of a lifetime.
So until next time, keep boating safely, keep your hooks wet. Enjoy the "Great Outdoors" See ya out there!