WINTERISING YOUR BOAT
Before we get into some of the essential things you should be doing for your trailerable boat over the winter period if it is going to lie dormant for any length of time, there is one easy solution to avoid these jobs. Take the boat up north for a few months and/or use it regularly, maybe up the Blackwood River or in Geographe Bay. One thing a boat and motor really does like is regular use. Whenever someone tells me they bought a boat for a steal, with minimal hours on the motor and hardly ever used, I smell a rat and always recommend a detailed inspection by a marine mechanic to save big dollars down the track.
If you have your boat under cover over winter that’s a luxury and so you avoid issues around rain seeping in and debris from winter storms. I have heavy duty covers on both my boats but the major issue can be condensation which leads to mould. Having an air space or removing the cover every month or so will eliminate those horrible spores forming on seat covers, electronics,etc. Therefore, also pays to take everything out of the boat and store it in the garage, including electronics, safety gear, seats, etc.
Leaving fuel in tanks, especially diesel, for long periods of time, can lead to it going stale and then you are going to have to drain the tank. Crappy job and you paid for that unused fuel. If you leave the tank empty there is a greater chance of algal contamination and once next season’s fuel is added to this, more expensive problems arise. The recommendation for inbuilt unleaded fuel tanks is to keep them full, then add a stabiliser ( available in marine or auto stores ) to the tank, run the motor for 10 minutes and you should be fine. Anyone using two stroke motors should ensure the fuel is run out of the motor to avoid oil build up over time. Portable fuel tanks are much easier to deal with. Use the fuel for the mower or whipper snipper and replace next season.
Makes sense to park the boat trailer so it is bow up or you may end up with a swimming pool in no time and moving the trailer forwards or back every month or so will avoid flat spots on the tyres. Grease up those bearings too so all lubed up and no air spaces for moisture to accumulate.
A decent battery is expensive so keeping it charged is essential. Beware of the cheap trickle charger without an auto shut off or you may not only cook your battery but risk a fire or acid spraying everywhere. Lash out and buy a C-Tek or similar charger and you can basically leave it on and forget about it. Just remember, if you are not using closed cell batteries then hydrogen is released under constant charge and can accumulate, especially in a confined space i.e boat under cover. You don’t want old mate to turn up first day of the fishing season with a ciggy hanging out of his mouth-boom!
And what about the fishing gear that just got tossed in and out of the boat every trip. After a long day’s fishing, cleaned the fish, cleaned the boat, sometimes the rods and reels are neglected. Take the time to wipe rods/runners, reels with a moist soft rag, loosen the drag on reels and then a light coat of lanolin or similar on all moving parts and you will be catching dhuies again in no time.