It’s almost that time of year again!
Unfortunately, the boating season is winding down and even in Texas it is time to start thinking about protecting your valuable recreational asset during the winter months. The time and effort you spend now will have a definite effect on your boat's performance, or lack of it. It will certainly save you time, effort and money come spring. You should remember that your insurance policy may not cover damage done by lack of maintenance or neglect. The best place for your boat to be during the winter is out of the water, under cover, in a climate-controlled boat storage area. Make sure that your boat is well covered with a tarp or some other sturdy cover.
Your first step in winterizing should be to make a checklist of all items that need to be accomplished. Check the owner's manual of your boat and motor for manufacturer's recommendations on winterization. The following is a generic outline of areas which should be of concern to you:
Inboard Engine - You should run the engine to warm it up and change the oil while it is warm. You should also change the oil filter, flush the engine with fresh water and circulate antifreeze through the manifold. Remove spark plugs and use "fogging oil" to spray into each cylinder.
Outboard Engine - Flush engine with fresh water using flush muffs. Let all water drain from the engine. Disconnect fuel hose and run engine until it stops.
Stern Drive(s) - You should thoroughly inspect the stern drive. Drain the gear case and check for excessive moisture in the oil. This could indicate leaking seals and should be repaired. Clean the lower unit with soap and water. If your stern drive has a rubber boot, check it for cracks or pinholes. Grease all fittings and check fluid levels in hydraulic steering or lift pumps. Check with your owner's manual for additional recommendations by the manufacturer.
Fuel - Fill your fuel tank to avoid a build up of condensation over the winter months. Add a fuel stabilizer by following the instructions on the product. Change the fuel filter and water separator.
Bilges - Make sure the bilges are clean and dry.
By following the above suggestions, you should be in good shape for the winter. Do not, however, neglect to consult your owner's manuals for manufacture's recommendations on winterizing your boat and other systems.
All your product needs, (such as oils, lubes, fuel stabilizers or cleaning agents) can be found at here at Bass Pro Shops Marine accessories counter or the Tracker Parts & Service center. If you prefer the Tracker Service center can even do the work for you! They can be contacted at 210-253-8772.