A guide to boating in all seasons

Adventure 2 min read

When it comes to year-round boat maintenance, a seasonal approach to different tasks can help you spend more time having fun and less time breaking down.

Fall boating

Properly winterizing your boat saves future time. Professional winterizing is a great idea to get ahead of any potential issues. If you’re winterizing your boat yourself, make sure to:

  • Flush your engine and stabilize your fuel.
  • Change oil filters and refill them with new oil.
  • Change lower unit oil and refill.
  • Fog your 2-stroke engine.
  • Remove your prop and grease your propeller shaft and pack your steering cable with grease.

Learn how to winterize your boat in the fall.

Winter boating

In some parts of the country, winter is hard on boats. These winter boating tips can help keep your boat in top condition.

  • Check on your boat in the winter, particularly if you leave it in the water.
  • Regularly inspect your boat to make sure the water is draining properly.
  • Check on tarps that can blow around and let snow, ice, and rain into your boat.
  • Patch holes before the water enters.
  • Ensure you have enough jacks to match your boat’s size and weight.
  • Check your trailer’s tire pressure and keep your tires inflated.
  • Store your trailer on a hard surface and never on grass or soft sand.

Spring boating

If you’ve thoroughly winterized your boat in the fall, your spring boating checklist preparation should be relatively easy. These spring boating tips can prepare your boat for spring:

  • Replace and test your boat electronics and wash and wax the hull.
  • Aluminum boats or boats stored in water will need bottom paint.
  • Charge and install your battery, add fresh gas, and check your navigational and trailer lights.
  • Look for cracks in rubber, fuel lines, and tires, and replace them as necessary.
  • Cold weather shrinks caulk, so lay a fresh bead around decks and casting platforms.
  • Service your engine, water pumps, thermostats, oil and gas filters, and fluid levels.
  • Grease also shrinks, so repack wheel bearings.
  • Check leaf springs and brackets, as they can rust during seasonal storage.
  • Add and re-supply your boating safety gear

Summer boating

Summertime should have you on the water, not repairing your boat. Still, prepping your boat for summer is part of boat ownership.

  • Wash your boat.
  • Run fresh water through an outboard used in saltwater.
  • Top off fluids.
  • Repack trailer hubs with grease after each launch.
  • Change spark plugs, lower unit grease, water pumps, and 4-stroke engine oil.
  • Check rollers and bunks on your trailer.
  • Repair tears or holes in bunk carpets.
  • Inspect your hull, trailer, and prop after each use.

Other considerations for seasonal boating

Maintaining your boat is an important part of boat ownership. A bit of time taking care of your boat leaves more time for having fun on the water (and less time fixing a broken boat). For additional tips, follow a boat maintenance schedule.

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