As the boating season begins to wind down and the air becomes cooler, it’s important to get the most possible out of what’s left of the season. You can stretch out your boating season into early and, depending on local climate, late fall by taking proper care of your boat throughout the season. Keep reading for some easy tips to keep your boat in top condition throughout the fall.
Properly Maintain Your Gear
Keeping all of your gear in top condition throughout the year is important, but it becomes even more crucial once fall starts to set in. After a long summer or boating, fishing, swimming, and other aquatic activities, it’s easy for your equipment to start getting worn out or even damaged. One of the best ways you can keep your boating season going through the very end of fall is to keep your equipment in good working order.
Ensure that all anchor lines, rigging, sails, flotation devices, seats, whistles, and horns are fully operational. Check for any frayed rope, or loose or cracked hardware. You should also check the engine over and make sure it hasn’t picked up any mechanical problems during the summer.
Check The Batteries and Electronics
Cold weather can be especially hard on battery and electric components, so it’s important to make sure that all batteries on your boat have a good charge on them. Summer use has likely already drained quite a bit of battery life, so it’s a good idea to charge everything you can if you plan to keep going on the water.
In addition to your main marine battery, make sure all of your other electronics are functioning properly. Check any other batteries you may had on your boat as well, including backups and any batteries on electric trolling motors.
Preparing for the Cold
If you plan on continuing boating activities into the fall, don’t forget that it tends to get much colder out on the water than it is on the shore. Plan for the cold and damp and make sure you have adequate warm clothing and instant warming pouches if needed.
The colder temperatures are also potential safety hazards, as the colder water will increase the danger if anyone falls overboard. Make sure all flotation devices are accessible and in working order, and keep towels, changes of clothes, and blankets on hand in case of emergencies.
Understand how the Cold Affects the Boat
Cold weather impacts not just you, but your boat too. Depending on what your boat is made out of, some of the components may become brittle in the cold. Be mindful of this when maneuvering, and be cautious when bumping into docks and sandbars that might not present any issue in the summer. You can also invest in boat fenders to protect the sides from damage.
Preparing to Winterize
When you’re ready to pack it away for the winter at the end of the season, it’s important to make sure you properly winterize your boat. This is a fairly involved process that can either be done by a specialized boat mechanic or by yourself at home. Either way, steps will be the same:
- Consult the boat’s manufacturer, a qualified marine expert, or the user manual for specific preparation for your boat’s make, model, and engine.
- Conduct a pre-winterization inspection to check the status of the fenders, dock lines, cushions, covers, electronics, and mechanical systems.
- Change the engine oil, fuel, and all filters.
- Change the engine coolant.
- Check and adjust the belts, and change them if necessary. Loosen them for the winter.
- Test the pressure of the cooling systems.
- Change the transmission fluid and filter.
- Winterize the fresh water system and all appliances.
- Winterize the head, including pumping out the holding tank and adding a deodorizer.
- Disconnect cables and clean all battery terminals.
- Winterize the ciar conditioning, refrigeration appliances, and salt-water wash-down pump.
- Inspect and clean the shower sump and filter.
- Examine the discharge pump and filter.
- Remove and store all exterior cushions, fabric items, and ropes.
Detailing Before Winterizing
One final thing you can do to prepare your boat during the fall is to get it detailed. A good, thorough detailing job will take care of the majority of the maintenance needed, and also care for the boat’s hull. Your detailer will clean the boat, buff and wax it, and add any packing grease necessary. You can of course do this yourself, but if you want to save yourself some serious trouble, it isn’t hard to find professional marine detailers. Mobile Detailing Pros offers the specialized care your boat needs and will come to you, whether your boat is stored in a dry dock or at home.