Spring Boat Prep
A Checklist for Your Boat and Outboard
It’s been a long, cold winter even in areas of the country that are not used to dealing with snow and temperatures below freezing. Spring commissioning has always been a ritual in more northern latitudes, but if you are not familiar with the process here are some helpful tips and checklists that will make your boating safer and more enjoyable as we spring into the new season.
For expert advice we called on Larry Smith, service manager at Garden State Yacht Sales on the Manasquan River in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. The facility boasts a complete ships store, is a certified Yamaha service center and dealer for six popular fishing and pleasure boat brands. Their service facility is first class and has highly trained technicians with years of experience winterizing and commissioning boats.
“It might sound like a no brainer, but the first things you should check are the batteries,” Larry advised. “Nothing else works if the batteries are weak or the terminals are fouled so disconnect the cables, wire brush the terminals and hook up a battery tester. If they are weak, now’s the time to replace them. If they are in good shape, reattach the cables using Nylok® nuts.”
“You should always start the season with new fuel and oil filters. Ethanol fuels can cause big problems, and proper fuel filtration is a critical line of defense against engine damage. At Garden State we use Yamaha filters because they meet the highest performance standards. In fact, we use Yamaha parts and lubricants exclusively on the Yamaha engines we service.”
First replace the in line fuel filter(s) located between the tank and the engine and be sure to use 10-micron rated, water separator filters because small amounts of water can collect in fuel tanks from condensation during the colder months. Then replace the onboard fuel filter and VPS (vapor separator tank) filters, both located under the engine cowling.
If your boat was properly winterized the engine oil (in four stroke outboards) and lower unit lubricants were replaced at that time. If not, change them now. Four-stroke outboard crankcase oil should be changed every 100 hours of operation or once a year, whichever comes first.