It’s Time to Winterize Your Boat!
For most boaters in New England, the time has come or has recently passed to pull your boat out of the water and winterize it for the winter.
So captain… what should I do to winterize my vessel?
Well, this depends on what marine power your vessel is equipped with!
Let’s talk about outboards first…
This is the time to drain the lower unit and replace it with a high-quality marine gear oil before winter.
Look for any signs of water intrusion in the lower unit while it is being drained. Telltale signs include a milky color of the oil if it has water in it. This is not a good sign and you may have noticed fishing line around the prop shaft which can have gotten behind the seal and created the leak when the props were removed to get access to the lower unit drain plugs on some outboards
It is also a good idea to remove the props at least annually even if there is access to the lower unit drain plugs without having to remove the props. The splines on the prop shaft should be lubricated to ensure the props can be removed in the future if there was ever a need to replace a propeller.
There is also a seal on the driveshaft which you cannot see that may have failed as well and or physical impact to the lower unit. Take note of the amount of size of metal particles on the magnetic drain plug when draining the lower unit oil. This should provide clues on the condition of the gears. Some very small shavings are normal.
In any case, if water is noticed, it is time to have the lower unit tested to see if it holds pressure and or have it resealed by your dealer if the bearings and gears were not damaged due to saltwater intrusion of the lower unit.
Due to the potential for water intrusion into the lower unit, we utilize AMSOIL SAE75W90 synthetic marine gear lube. Besides Amsoil being a top tier synthetic lubricant, this gear lubricant has been tested to maintain extreme pressure protection even with 15% water intrusion. As an example, Mercury Verado HD lower units cost approximately $6,000.00 each, so this is the choice of lubricant utilized in our equipment.
Pic of oils
4 stroke outboards should have the oil and filter changed as condensation over time inside the engine creates water which becomes corrosive over time. This occurs even when the engine is not running, so most oil manufacturers typically suggest oil change intervals in terms of mileage, hours and or 1-year of time or whichever comes first.
Fuel, Fuel, Fuel!!!
Since fuel tanks are vented to the atmosphere, your vessel fuel tanks naturally draw in moisture and the moisture ends end up at the bottom of the fuel tank as water droplets. The consensus currently is to have the fuel tanks near full at winter so there is not as much opportunity for moisture to intrude. I had my vessel, Fish On II boat in South Florida being modified for 6 months last year and I was in disbelief how much nasty contaminated fuel was at the bottom of my tanks even after putting in stabilizer when I got the boat ready for this season. The tanks were half full during storage.
This is now the time to use a fuel stabilizer as well. Run the engine so that the stabilized fuel gets into the fuel lines and engine as well before storage.
Most outboards have a water/fuel separator which should be drained, and a new filter installed as well.
On stroke outboards the engine should be fogged to lubricate the internal parts although Mercury EFI and Optimax does not recommend fogging while Yamaha has a cocktail of additives to be run through a portable fuel tank to winterize their outboards which is lubricating the internal engine components for winter storage..
Diesel equipped vessels should have a fuel system treatment as well to prevent potential bacteria growth in the fuel system.
You will want to put the appropriate antifreeze in of any closed water systems on board.
Fish On II will be wrapping up the fishing charter season by the end of November as well!
The January issue will focus on trailer maintenance.
Till next time, tight lines and Fish On!