A Guide to Seasonal Boat Maintenance

As with any vehicle, ongoing maintenance is the key to keeping your boat in great shape and preventing the need for repairs. Use this guide if you have questions about seasonal care and boat winterization in Annapolis, MD. boat - maintenance

Fall

If you live in a cool location, fall means it’s time to start thinking about boat winterization. Decide on how or where you will store the vessel over the winter months, take care of as much boat maintenance as possible, and start removing any personal items from your vessel. Some people choose to leave their boat in the water over the winter, others store it on their property, and still others decide to put their boat in a dry storage facility.

Winter

Once it’s time to store your boat, there are a few winterization steps to complete. First, have the engine oil and filter changed, and also stabilize the fuel tank and replace its filters. Second, have the outdrive unit removed, inspected, and serviced if needed, and also change the oil in the outdrive or lower unit. Next, have the battery removed, maintained, cleaned, and charged for the winter months. Lastly, lube the steering systems and shifting cables, and then shrink wrap or cover your boat while leaving large vents to discourage mold growth.

Spring

Spring marks the beginning of boating season, and it’s at this time that you should pull your boat out of winter storage and begin preparing it for getting back out on the water. Start by charging and installing the batteries and securing their cables using stainless steel lock nuts. Next, check each of the electronic items and test all of the switches, making a note of anything that isn’t functioning properly. Then, if you have water systems with antifreeze, you will have to flush these out, disinfect the lines, and then pressurize the system. At this point, you can move on to the engine to check the oil, power steering fluid, and coolant levels. Finally, you can begin the startup procedure, for which you should refer to the operator’s manual.

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