California has pretty mild temperatures, so it's pretty safe to say a boat, whether a painted or unpainted aluminum, fiberglass or wood boat, can virtually be used year-round. Still, there are seasons of lessened boating that call for storage of the boat. If you choose to store your boat outdoors in, say, Lake Arrowhead, there are some basic tips you should follow.
1) Before storing your boat, you'll want to give it a good exterior cleaning and polishing (usually with wax).
2) The interior should be cleaned as well--the upholstery, carpet, the bilge and livewell all need their maintenance. Metal cleats and other hardware should be polished.
3) Boat care can also consist of minor repairs such as filling cracks and gouges in the fiberglass.
4) Boats stored outdoors are also subject to an accumulation of dust and mildew, no matter how hard you try to protect them with a tarp or steel hut. So be prepared for a clean-up when you get ready to use your boat again.
5) The engine also requires routine maintenance before storage and often after every use. Include these steps:
. Bilge pumps: Make sure they're functional before storing away your boat. Examine the pumps' electrical components for corrosions; keep the limber holes free of debris; and test the float switches and alarms.
. Motor: Flush your engine after every trip and be watchful for rust and corrosion on the engine itself, also for worm belts and hoses.
. Oil: Check the oil levels and top when necessary. Change the oil if it appears dirty, likewiseÂ the filter.
. Electrical system: Check for corrosion or damage and make sure all connections are tight. Use a wire brush to clean and remove dirt and rust. Check and clean the battery similarly.
. Propeller: Examine your propeller for dents and have it repaired or replaced. Make sure the shaft is greased and propeller nut securely tightened. (If outboard motor, still check the propeller.)
. Hull: This was covered above a bit, but be sure to patch any cracks or damage you find.