Boating Tips 5

  • Maintenance Considerations
    • Keep your boat's battery maintained. Keep it on trickle charge when not in use or charge regularly - always being sure of good ventilation, since battery charging produces potentially explosive gas. Make sure battery electrolyte levels are correct in all cells and replenish only with distilled water. Clean your battery's terminals and connectors with a solution of baking soda and water. You could also use a special post and connector cleaning brush, which scratches the lead clean with its wire bristles. Be sure not to get any electrolyte or dust from battery corrosion on your skin, clothes or in your lungs.
    • Lubricate your steering cable. If you're lucky enough to have a single or double-parallel cable steering system that has a grease nipple right on the cable, be sure to make use of it! These cable systems otherwise tend to seize up after long periods of time and are expensive to replace. Be sure to use a marine grade grease, which is intended for very wet environments.
    • If your engine is ever submerged, have it serviced immediately! Waiting even a day can be costly. Corrosion will occur while the engine is submerged and will accelerate when removed from the water. The water can be contaminated with corrosives, silt and other debris that must be purged. Immediately arrange for service, get the engine out and take it to the shop as soon as possible. Do not let the engine dry out on its own after being submerged.


      In order to attempt a restart, all water contamination will have to be removed from the cylinders, spark plugs, induction system, fuel system and starting system. Restarting will give internal engine surfaces a fresh coat of fuel/oil mix (in the case of 2 cycle engines). Often forgotten is the starter, which will likely have a substantial amount of water inside. Like the engine, the starter will be ruined if left unserviced. Consult a qualified person promptly to avoid costly oversights.


  • Storage Considerations
    • Do have your boat and motor properly stored for the winter. There are special considerations with 2 cycle and marine engines. They have different lubrication systems and bearings than an average automobile engine. To prevent corrosion, it's imperative on 2 cycle engines that the internal parts are coated with storage sealant before resting for long periods. Otherwise, parts are only protected for a short period by quickly evaporating fuel/oil mix, then exposed long term to natural humidity and condensation from the air.


      Gear casings spend their working life submerged, with lots of heating and cooling. This creates a high likelihood that at some time during the engine's life, water will infiltrate the casing. This is typically caused by seal failure on the propeller shaft, often cut up by a good wrapping of fishing line. This is no big deal if caught early, so have your gear lube drained and replaced before storage by someone who knows how to spot water. If there is water, consider having the seal tested or replaced. Never leave a gear case empty of lubricant - the bearings and gears will rust heavily over the winter if only a drop of water is present and will have to be replaced at great expense. Fresh gear lube is best for storage. Even if it has to be again replaced during a postponed seal replacement, it is very worthwhile.


      Inboard engines have to have their blocks drained of all cooling water before the first freeze in the fall. Plan to winterize inboards early. Drain plugs can be difficult to access and hard to see, so make sure the person doing the job knows exactly how to do it.


      One of the best places to learn about winterizing is in your engine's owner's manual. Be sure to properly maintain the battery during the winter, too. Left outside, it could slowly lose charge and freeze.


    • Use fuel stabilizer when winterizing. Use a fuel stabilizer additive with your last tank of fuel before storage. This will prevent the remaining fuel from "varnishing" inside your fuel tanks, hoses and carburetors.

...continued on Boating Tips 6: trailering.

These tips are only general guidelines. Safety under the circumstances of operation is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the boat operator. Please be in control at all times and review all the operator/maintenance manuals for your equipment.


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P.O. Box 3000, Lac du Bonnet, MB Canada R0E 1A0
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Located just NE of town on Hwy 502 (Winnipeg River side).