It’s Time to Plan Winterization
Winter is nearly here. And if you’re fortunate enough to live in Southern climates, that means trading in t-shirts for long sleeves and sandals for shoes. If you’re like those of us based in the North, we’re starting to pull out jackets, gloves, boots from hibernation while the boats are heading in for winterization.
We’ve put together a list of helpful tips as you prepare for winter – from tackle to electronics and from batteries to the outboard motor, along with storage location. If you’re lucky and don’t have to worry about the cold, these tips can still help you stay organized in between hunting and fishing season or if you’re waiting on that new boat to arrive.
Now is the time to ditch that lucky bait that’s been sitting on your deck since the first opener. After hours on the water, your boat has probably accumulated odds and ends from the season, along with smells and mysterious slimes. Cleaning out your rod lockers and storage compartments can fend off unwelcome sights and smells come spring. It’s also a great time to reorganize tackle, fix or replace broken lure boxes, and take inventory for the coming season. Rods and reels can be inspected for damage, cleaned and respooled with fresh line if necessary.
Your eyes under the water could likely use some TLC as well. Wiping down your screens, inspecting mounts for cracks or bends, and even checking the torque on your DuraSafe E-LOCKS® can help you prep for spring. It’s also a great time to pull your waypoints off your fish finders and back them up on a computer. Nothing is worse than plugging in a year’s worth of waypoints only to find a corrupted file.
Sitting unused in a cold garage for months on end can kill even the toughest batteries. Disconnecting your battery is one way to stop slow drain, but the best option is to invest in a quality charger. Whether it’s an onboard system or an external charger, a charger is a great way to preserve your batteries. Not to mention batteries are expensive and we’d all rather spend that money on new rods, reels, and swimbaits versus a new battery.
Now this is where it can get complicated. If you’re mechanically inclined, winterizing your outboard isn’t a big deal, but if you’re hesitant it might be better to trust a dealer or shop to service your engine. Below is a checklist of items that applies to most outboards.
- Change lower unit lubricant.
- Use a fuel additive in the boat’s main and kicker tanks to stabilize the fuel over the winter months.
- Clean water deposits off of the boat and motor with a spray mix of 50% vinegar and 50% water.
- After water spot removal, thoroughly clean boat and motor, then wax for the winter.
- Make sure that the motor is in the lowered position during storage.
- Dry the boat out, and then cover. Adding dryer sheets inside under the cover also discourages mouse traffic.
Lastly, think about an appropriate storage location for the winter season - consider storing your boat indoors in a climate-controlled facility if possible.
If indoor storage isn’t an option, select a secure location away from harsh weather and potential theft. Remember, you’ll want to ensure your trailer and motors are secure when your boat’s in storage. We’ve all heard too many stories of thefts taking place during the off-season. Be sure to order—and then install–all your hitch, motor, and bracket locks from DuraSafe.
Once your boat’s in storage, ensure the boat is properly supported with jack stands or a boat cradle to prevent damage from freezing water and snow.
Following these tips will help make getting on the water for the first time much easier next season. And it might open up room for the next toy you’ve had your eyes on too.