To start a boat de-winterization checklist, you should first consult your boat’s owner or service manual. This will be your first step. Your spring prep is directly related to the comprehensive winterizing of your engine and boat systems. Basically, the more you do or have done for winter layup, the better your chances of reducing “Sit-itis.” This insidious boat disease happens when systems that worked in the fall now do not. Here is a general checklist to get you started .
- Charge and install all batteries and clean the terminals and cable ends. Replace the wing nuts with stainless steel lock nuts to prevent the cables from loosening up.
- Inspect and check the operation of all electrical items and electronics. Test all helm and cabin switches and note items that are not working properly.
- Turn off the battery switch (if equipped) and ensure the automatic bilge pump float switch is working.
- Remove antifreeze from water systems onboard. If antifreeze was introduced into the freshwater tank, it should be flushed out prior to connecting the pump and flushing the water lines. There are commercial products available to disinfect the water system. Follow the directions carefully. Pressurize the system and open each faucet/shower head one at a time until clean water flows. Don’t forget the transom or anchor wash faucets.
- Inspect the engine compartment before turning the key for the first time after a long winter. Check the engine oil level and inspect the bilge area for fluid leaks. Also, check the coolant level, the power steering fluid, the transmission/lower unit or the outdrive oil.
Please note that this is a general checklist and may not be applicable to all boats. It is always best to consult your boat’s owner or service manual for specific instructions.
- Bernier J. Spring Boat De-winterization Checklist – On the water [Internet]. On The Water – The Angler’s Guide to the Northeast. 2013 [cited 2024 Jan 26]. Available from here.
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