Getting your boat ready for summer after winter storage

Posted by Carolien Henn on Aug 10, 2022 9:17:15 AM

During the winter months, boats are used less or in some cases stored until the warmer summer months. How do you get your boat ready to hit the water as soon as the warmer weather starts pulling in? 


First things first, it would be a good idea to move your boat out of storage into the daylight or under bright light so that proper inspections may be performed, this will also make it easier to move around the boat. 


Do a visual inspection of the battery. Look for leakage or damage on the outside of the battery. Excess dust and dirt must be wiped off, however, be careful not to use or leave strong chemicals sitting on the battery when cleaning. Test the voltage of your battery and use a hydrometer to test the gravity of the battery, in other words, the fluids in relation to water in the boat's battery.  


Normally fuel is drained from tanks and lines before a boat is stored. The reason is that unleaded fuel goes off in 7 weeks and that fuel is a caustic chemical that may damage and wear parts, tubes, and seals away. 

Start by looking around, on top, and at all connections and hoses for leaks. When pressing or squeezing hoses or pipes you will be able to feel the brittleness or cracking. The general rule of thumb is that when hoses or pipes start cracking it is good practice to replace everything at once as this is most often due to age. Now you can pump some fuel through the system and check again for leaks and cracks.


Check all your boat fluid levels and conditions, this may include hydraulic or power steering liquid and oils. However, take caution to always be sure that fluids or oils are not filled past the level indicated in the owner's manuals and that the correct product is used to replace of fill fluids or oil.


Spark plugs, unplug one spark plug at a time. Check the inside of the wire and the body of the spark plug, if everything looks fine insert the spark plug again before taking the next one out. The reason for this is that wires might get mixed up and it could become difficult to remember which wire goes where, which could be disastrous.


Control panels and electronics must also be checked especially if the boat has been standing for quite a while. Corrosion can build up on the connection points which may cause electronics not to communicate or function. Dimmed lights or faded displays may also be an indicator that electronics have a poor connection that is preventing them from functioning at full capacity.


Now for the steering. Turn your steering wheel in one direction until the outboard will no longer moves further, then repeat it in the opposite direction. Is there excessive play? Then that is definitely something to look into there might be a problem with the linkage system.


Move to the hull and inspect this thoroughly inside and out. Look for cracks, dents, or any sign of damage. You can use a rubber hammer and lightly tap on the hull. Listen for a constant sound. Pay special attention to where there are joins and keep in mind that older fiberglass boats may start cracking slightly due to age.


Check the propeller/s. Check the blades for dents, missing chunks, and deep scratches. One of the key elements of a propeller is balance, a blade with significant damage may cause damage to your outboard. To identify a bent shaft, it is best to rotate the shaft by hand and look for a wobble. Inspect your washers/hubs and insure that they are for fit to fill their purpose as they need to absorb some of the propeller's impact.


Finally, it is time to fire up the outboards. Never start your engine out of the water unless you are using an external lower unit flushing adapter also known as ear muffs specifically designed for your type of outboard motor. Operate at no more than an advanced idle with good water pressure. Never put the engine in gear or leave it unattended while running. 



If you don’t have the time to do all the pre-summer checks and would just like to get to the water, you can have a professional do it for you to make sure all is good. Book your boat in at your local Suzuki Marine Dealer, and sit back and relax while we get your boat summer ready! 


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