5 Pro Tips to Get Your Boat Ready For the Season

5 Pro Tips to Get Your Boat Ready For the Season

February 27, 2018 | Andy Buss

Avoid disaster this boating season with 5 pro tips to get your boat ready for the season. Learn how the Power Pros crew at Bass Pro keep their boats ready to hit the water.

Adding Megaware Products such as the KeelGuard, SkegGuard, ScuffBuster, and FlexStep Pro adds a little sparkle to your ride while also protecting it. However, averting disaster takes a little bit more. Let’s face it, nothing is attractive about boat maintenance. But, neglecting it can destroy a season on the water and eat up a wallet’s beef. Our five pro tips to get your boat ready for the season will help.

Service Technician Jay Witvoet, Jr., from the Power Pros crew at Bass Pro Shops in Portage, Indiana insists a little TLC and elbow grease is all that is needed to thwart such disasters. His motto is, “Keep the inside of your engine as clean as you want the outside of your boat to look.” This sets the tone and backs it up with steps all boaters should follow before venturing on the water for the first time this season.

Get your boat ready for the season with 5 pro tips

Five pro tips to get your boat ready for the season:

  1. Check the charge on the batteries and remove any corrosion. Countless frantic boaters call Witvoet’s shop every year from the ramp, only to realize that their battery was not charged.
  2. Clean the boat. Wash your boat thoroughly to strip off last season’s wax and debris. Put on a new coat of wax before going to the water.
  3. Check grease levels on the motor and steering system and add where necessary.
  4. Inspect the gear lube levels on the lower unit. If any leaking occurred during the winter, drain and refill.
  5. Tighten all fasteners on the boat, and pay special attention to bolts and nuts connecting the motor to the boat.

But that’s not all you can do to get your boat ready for the season. Witvoet brought up four other issues they see a lot in their shop, and easy ways to prevent them.

Four other ways to avoid disaster on the water:

  1. Winterize your boat.
  2. Add a stabilizer to your fuel.
  3. Replace your fuel filters after 100 hours, or annually, whichever comes first.
  4. Take care of your trailer and grease your wheel bearings properly.

Admittedly, this all comes with the assumption that before being stored the motor was winterized. “Winterizing prevents fuel problems and corrosion in the engine, explained Witvoet. “Inboards can actually freeze if not winterized causing devastating damage.” When firing up the motor for the first time, be sure to let it run idle for several minutes, and then ease into higher rpm’s.

The most avoidable problem

The hysteria caused by ethanol is justified, but Witvoet insists this is the, “most avoidable problem. Just add a stabilizer every time you add fuel,” he urged. “Most boaters do not realize that phase separation in fuel from a convenience store begins in just two weeks.” He explained, “Ethanol attracts water, and fuel is lighter than water, so water sinks to the bottom of the tank. That water is the first liquid to be siphoned into the motor when turned on.” A fuel stabilizer prevents this by eliminating the water. The Bass Pro Shops Power Pros team recommends STAR TRON Enzyme Fuel Treatment.

Filters, fuel, and oil

Furthermore, you should replace your fuel filters every 100 hours or annually. Witvoet suggested that boat owners adhere to that schedule, but implored also to add an engine & fuel system cleaner twice a year. “This will prevent carbonation in motors.” He explained, “This is the most common cause for catastrophic engine failure.” This is called a piston freeze up, which means the carbonation literally burns off the sides of the pistons. This is especially true for 2-stroke motors.

“What it all really boils down to,” lamented Witvoet, “is taking care of your fuel and oil. Those are what flow through the veins of the motor.” He strongly suggests not being cheap with oil: purchase the factory recommended or equivalent OEM oil.

Getting your trailer ready for the season

Once the boat and motor have a clean bill of health, do not make the mistake of neglecting the trailer. Towing companies make a fortune every year towing trailers. Witvoet emphasized proper maintenance on wheel bearings. “Greasing bearings is vital, but I see more problems from over greasing than the other way around.” He explained, “Only 2-3 pumps of grease is needed, and anymore can cause the cap to blow off, which allows water in and drain out the grease.” He also told stories of seeing bunks of trailers floating in the water after launching a boat, “Be sure to inspect the bunks for rot and make sure bolts are fastened.”

Butterflies in your stomach and excitement to get on the water is an eternal source of temptation for neglecting the needs of your watercraft. But remember the potential of disaster peaks when you do. To ensure a full season on the water, take the time to prepare your rig properly.

And when you’re done getting the inside of your boat ready for the season, it’s time to get the outside of your boat ready. The entire family of Megaware products helps protect your investment from external damage. And let’s face it, they make your boat look good too. You can find the full selection of products online or at major retailers nationwide.

Check out more from Andy Buss on his YouTube Channel.