Wednesday, March 8, 2017

5 Tips for De-Winterizing Your Boat and Preparing for Spring

The first day of spring is just a couple weeks away! Now's the time to start thinking about de-winterizing your boat for the season. After sitting on your Lake of the Ozarks boat lift all winter, your boat will need to be looked over. The boat, the lift and the dock should all be inspected to ensure everything is in proper working order. Your favorite boat lift dealer at the Lake of the Ozarks has created a list of tips for de-winterizing your boat and preparing for the spring season.

1. Look for Noticeable Damage.

While we had a rather mild winter at the Lake of the Ozarks this year, we did get a few storms. One of the first things you'll want to do when preparing for the spring boating season is to check the dock, lift and boat for any damage. Did the wind blow debris onto your dock? Did ice formations create any issues? You want to make sure the dock is safe to use before family and friends get on it. You also want to make sure the lift is working properly and that there's no damage to your boat.

2. Schedule an Electrical Inspection for Your Dock. 

Electricity and water don't mix. That's why it's important for you to have your dock inspected to make sure all the electrical wires, outlets, etc. are in proper working order after sitting all winter. Some dock companies even offer free inspections to ensure the safety of you, your family and your guests. 

3. Clean the Entire Boat. 

By starting with cleaning your boat, you'll be able to find any problematic areas. Using a mild detergent, do a general cleaning of the hull, deck and topsides. Make sure the drains and scuppers are clear. Clean teak and oil, windows and hatches, canvas, bimini and dodger, and the interior, including bilges. You should also check and replace wiper blades if necessary. While you are cleaning, check for abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc and make any necessary repairs. Check for blisters and refinish the boat if needed.

4. Check All Important Components. 

There are many parts of a boat that work together to keep it operating properly. Check your boat thoroughly, but pay special attention to these areas:
  • Check the Engine - You may have changed the oil in your boat at the end of last season. If not, you'll want to do that before taking your boat out for the first time this spring. You'll also want to replace the oil filter. Consider adding an oil additive to keep your engine clean and corrosion free. 
  • Check the Cooling System - Before winter arrived, you should have drained the cooling system to avoid freezing. Even so, be sure to check hoses for any cracks or breaks. If you have an outboard engine that uses an impeller cooling system, make sure that the rubber impeller is not cracked. If all looks good, fill everything back up so you're ready to go!
  • Check all Fluid Levels - Be sure to check any and all fluids including the engine oil, power steering, power trim reservoirs and coolant.
  • Check the Battery - Test your battery to check the amps and volts. If you're battery isn't able to hold a charge, you'll need to purchase a new one. If it does hold a charge, make sure to clean the terminals of any corrosion and you're ready to roll - or well float. Inspect all electrical connections for clean, tight, corrosion free connections. Electrical systems should be regularly inspected by a professional.
  • Check the Distributor - During the winter months, the distributor can become corroded. To clean the distributor, you'll need to take its cap off. Once you're done cleaning, make sure the connections are tightly hooked back up.  
  • Check Belts, Cables and Hoses - If any belts seem loose or worn, they need to be changed before firing up the boat for the season. To test the belts, push down lightly; any significant movement represents the need for replacement. Another sign to look for is black soot near the pulley. The alternator belt can wear faster than the others, so pay particular attention to it. 
  • Check the Fuel System -  While you hopefully filled the tank up before winter to avoid moisture from forming inside, you'll want to ensure the fuel filter gets changed. You also want to check the fuel line, as cooler winter temperatures can easily cause them to crack. If you did not use an additive in your gas to prevent water contamination and/or fuel separation, drain the gas from the fuel tank, as it is probably stale.

5. Schedule Spring Maintenance with Summerset Boat Lifts.  

After sitting untouched all winter, your boat isn't the only thing that needs looked over. The changes in temperature and weather can also affect your boat lift. Before using it this season, have Summerset Boat Lifts come out and take a look at it. We will inspect your lift and replace bushings, nuts, bolts and hoses as needed. We'll ensure your boat lift is working properly and is ready for a great season ahead!

At Summerset Boat Lifts, we pride ourselves in service, and it’s what sets us apart from everyone else! We want our customers to relax knowing their boat lift needs are being handled by professionals. Summerset’s record of service after the sale is unparalleled in the boat lift industry. We don’t just sell you a lift, we sell you our service. Give us a call at 573-348-5073 for all your Lake of the Ozarks boat lift maintenance needs!

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065
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