Whether you're using indoor storage in Corona, indoor storage in Lake Elsinore, or you keep your boat safe and secure at home or elsewhere on land, now that the boating season is melting into winter, it's time to do some, good old end-of-season boat care.
Basic boat care consists of cleaning or washing, polishing and/or waxing where applicable, cleaning upholstery carpet, the bilge and livewell, and
polishing metal cleats and other hardware. Boat care can also consist of minor repairs such as filling cracks and gouges in fiberglass.
Here are some important specific steps:
1) Run the livewell. Slime and leftovers such as fish scales will remain in the wells. Remove the screen from the bottom of the livewell and the screen off the back of the boat. Flush both screens. Then, run water in both directions through the system to flush and back-flush it, and let it thoroughly drain.
2) Pull the props and check for weeds and fishing line caught in the blades or shaft, which can cut seals and lead to leaks.
3) If the prop is dinged, get it repaired or buy a new one.
4) Batteries: Check the battery's (batteries') fluid level and fill it with distilled water only. Keep the battery (batteries) at full charge even if the boat isn't being used.
5) If you don't take out your battery (batteries) for the winter, make sure the connections stay tightly in place. Tighten the nuts on the terminals, and
spay the connections with WD-40 to prevent corrosion.
6) Make sure the drain plug is removed so the below-deck area of your boat can breathe.
7) Change the engine oil and filter and replace gear case oil or gear lube in your drive.
8) Replace the fuel filter.
9) To prevent the come-spring "stink factor," get rid of the things that mold or mildew, which means, depending on the size of your boat, emptying the refrigerator and placing dehumidifier bags around the cabin.
10) Cleaning the bilge, the drains, and the sump prior to winterization is also absolutely essential to keep odors and bacteria at bay.
A lot of end-of-season care for boats depends on the size of your boat, but the essentials remain the same whether you choose the safe, secure route of
indoor boat storage, or whether you find an open-air alternative (indoor storage, as always, is the safest). Take care of your boat and take care of your invesment--and future fun.