How to Winterize Your Boat - 9 Tips to Increase Motor Longevity
As the cold fronts move in and the U.S. has its first snowfall, we can truly say winter has come. The majority of boaters will be preparing to winterize their boat during this time, while most of us southerners will stay on the water through our version of a "Southern Winter".
The northern U.S. isn't quite as fortunate as we are in the South, they actually experience snow and iced-over lakes which virtually eliminate the use of a boat. The catch though, they get to experience ice fishing. That's one thing we've placed on our bucket list. We've seen them even use our flounder gigs for dark house spearing - that's a fun experience if you've never tried it!
CUSTOMIZATION, REPAIRS, AND IMPROVEMENTS
There is no question that the winter marks the best time of the year to get monster fish - whether that's bowfishing big buffalo or gigging monster "doormat" flounder. This is one of the biggest reasons we keep at it down here in Texas.
If you don't plan on making the most of the cold weather and opt to put your boat in the shop - then it's time to start preparing for the winter and making the changes you wish you had during the heat of the season.
- Re-wire your boat trailer lights that are out or flickering from a loose ground connection or corroded wiring
- Heat-shrink your trailer connections with adhesive heatshrink.
- Replace the cheap-o busted up LED lights at the front of your boat that only put out a couple hundred or even a couple thousand lumens
- Fix any leaky joints where water seems to always find its way in.
While you are making your repairs, make sure you are getting ahead of the game so you aren't experiencing these same pitfalls during the heat of the season season.
- Flounder Gigging / Bully Netting
- Swamp Eye Submersibles - boat mounted, dual color for various water conditions
- Solid Color Swamp Eye Submersibles - boat mounted, single color for specific areas.
- For flounder gigging muddy water - use warm white (2000k)
- For flounder gigging clear water or bully netting in the Florida Keys - use cool white (6000k).
- Mini Swamp Eye Submersibles - great for budget friendly setups or for making your own wading and gigging combo.
- For more information, check out our flounder gigging lights or bully netting lights.
- Swamp Eye HD - extremely bright above water light that is color adjustable for clear or muddy water and compatible with our all new building block wiring harness
- Swamp Eye Light Bar - low profile, bright above water light that is capable of color tone adjustability for clear or muddy water.
- Miscellaneous Other Items
- Check over your boat and take the time to do all the little things you wish you did during the season. Accomplish them now while you have time and can afford to wait on a potential back order!
HOW TO WINTERIZE YOUR BOAT (OUTBOARD MOTOR) FOR STORAGE
The following criteria is applicable for most boats, but more particularly outboard motors:
STEP 1: Add fuel stabilizer to fuel, or empty fuel tank
- Gauge the remaining fuel in the tank and treat it with the correct amount of fuel stabilizer.
- This is critical for long term storage of fuel.
- An alternative option is to just empty the fuel tank if that is a viable option for you.
- If you opt to empty the tank - wait until you complete the remaining steps as you will still need to run the motor.
STEP 2: Flush the engine with fresh water.
- Flush the engine with fresh water using flush muffs.
- If you have a "newer" motor (early 2000's), you can use the flushing port located on the back of the engine.
- The old motors will require the boat motor to be turned on, while the newer motors can be flushed without turning the motor on.
STEP 3: Engine wash down
- Wash the engine down with soap and water and thoroughly rinse all parts.
STEP 4: Fog the air intakes on the motor
- Remove the engine cowl (cover) and start the engine (must be hooked up to water or in a water body).
- While it is running, spray fogging solution into the air intakes on the front of the engine.
- The fog is basically an oil aerosol that helps prevent rust protect internal engine components during long periods of inactivity.
STEP 5: Remove fuel line from the motor while running.
- While the engine is still running, remove the fuel line from the engine and continue spraying fogging solution until the engine dies.
- It is important to run the engine with the fuel line removed to burn all fuel from the carburetors to prevent build-up of deposits from evaporated fuel.
- THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP AND THE MOST COMMON CAUSE OF MOTORS NOT STARTING AFTER BEING STORED LONG TERM.
STEP 6: Apply water resistant grease to propeller shaft and threads.
- Completely coat the propeller shaft and threads with water resistant grease.
- This is often referred to as silicone grease or lubricating grease, dielectric grease will even work.
STEP 7: Change the gear oil in the lower unit.
- This is typically advised to do every 100 hours or annually on most outboard motors.
- This can easily be done yourself, and is important to keeping the internal gears in top shape.
STEP 8: Lubricate the exterior of the engine
- Lightly lubricant the exterior of the engine or polish with a good wax.
- If this is done regularly, the motor will stay looking new for a long time. Otherwise, you might start to see surface rust and sun fading.
STEP 9: Trim the outboard motor down.
- Trim the outboard motor all the way down, allowing water to completely drain.