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Boat Summerizing


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With the warm weather seeming to be sticking around for a bit lots of people are pulling boats out of storage and getting them ready for open water.

Here's a list (feel free to suggest additions) I've put together of what to do to get your boat ready for open water.

This list assumes you changed lower unit lube and, if you have a four stroke, engine oil prior to putting it away for the winter. If you didn't, change it this spring and get in the habit of doing it during winterization. If you don't, and you have significant water in either fluid, you're asking for seal problems.

Check Trailer Lights

Check Axle Bearings - Jack up axle, spin tire. If it rumbles time for a repack or replace

If you have bearing buddies, and you can rotate / turn the cup the grease zerk is attached to add a couple pumps of grease

Check Tire Pressure

Check Lug Nut / Wheel Bolt Torque

Check Winch Strap - any fraying / tears that affect the integrity?

Pull the boat cover off, remove mouse prevention method you used

Put Boat Plug In

Connect Battery Cables to Battery; Charge Battery to top off

Get a set of rabbit ears / motor flushers / These:


Put them over the intake screens and start the water (or take your boat to the landing) and start your motor and let it run for 5-10 minutes to allow the fogging fluid you used to run out of the cylinders.

Check Navigation Lights & All Accessories to make sure they're working correctly

Flush live wells and bilge area if you put RV-anti freeze in.

And those are the basics... you can clean your boat, wax it, etc, but above are the minimum things I'd do to make sure everything's good to go prior to hitting the water.

Good Luck!


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Make sure all new tackle, rods, reels, etc. are safely stored out of sight in boat so wife doesn't see them.

Glad I am not the only one! wink

*Flush live wells and bilge area if you put RV-anti freeze in.

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Here's a few more if your boat is a few years old...

These may not be necessary, but may save you from a headache or two down the road.

Replace water pump (impeller)

Replace fuel line and ball

Replace your water/fuel separator filter

Check to make sure you have replacement fuses for all of your equipment.

Check your Tmotor batteries

Make sure all bilge pumps and livewell pumps turn on.

I also grab a screw driver and tighten every screw I see.

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I always repack bearing every spring. The cost of the seal is very cheap insurance. Since I have burned up an axle, this is a must do for me. Also check the nuts on the U bolts on the trailer to make sure they are not loose.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Don't forget the trailer tabs too. Some trailers still require plates and that can put a damper on your weekend when the DMV is closed. Also, don't forget about your tail lights! Put in some fresh bulbs or spend the $50 bucks and upgrade to LED and forget worrying about them ever again.

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Ok heres one. Check your spare tire for air pressure. I store my boat in my Dads shop and I have a feeling one of my boys might have something to do with this but I leaned on my spare tire today and the thing was very soft. Come to find out there was no valve stem cap on it and half the air was gone???????? I filled it back up and checked for leaks and found none. I know over the winter Grandpa and the boys have been working in the shop so I think maybe one of the little guys figured out how to let the air out?? Anyway check over your spare to make sure its in good shape!! Out on the road with a flat is not the time to find out your spare is flat as well eek

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  • 2 months later...

Mothballs... if you do a search in this forum for the word mice or mothballs you should find all kinds of discussion about this topic (and when we get to fall I'll sticky the winterizing thread as well), but several people have used dryer sheets, and found that mice use the dryer sheets in their nest and don't always keep them out.


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  • 7 months later...

A few more......

Check your fire extinguisher as well to make sure it has a charge, along with the proper throwable PFD and paddle to meet the ever-changing regulations where you fish.

Check the electrical system, I know I had suspected loose wire/short somewhere my last time out in November. Adding a little di-electric grease to connection points is a good idea.

Go thru and tighten mounts on the trolling motor, RAM mounts, rod holders, cleats, etc.

Good time to do the same preventative steps and a checklist to your tow vehicle as well. I just put new plugs and wires in my Tahoe and have seen about an 8% increase in fuel efficiency. It cost me $130 in platinum tipped plugs and wires but with gas pushing the $2.80/gallon range it'll pay for itself in a few months. Spend an $10 extra bucks and get a universal adaptor, it'll save a lot of time and almost $10 in band-aids to cover skunned up knuckles. FYI: Plug #8 (back left) is a bear on GMC trucks!

Hope this helps......

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Pull the props and check for line around the shafts

Thats a good one as many have line behind the prop and forget to check.

I also change the 2 fuel filters on the motor each season. Maybe overkill but no issues either.

I always try to shampoo the carpet and I even waxed the trailer this spring.

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make sure your navigation lights work

give the boat a good vacuum if you have carpet

check air pressure in tires

check taillights

grease bearings on trailer

and lastly, put all the stuff you boat from the big C store into your boat and organize it

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I am interested in the LED lights. Does that mean having to change out the whole light system or does that just mean replacing with LED bulbs? In otherwords do the LED fit in the same socket etc...

What about changing fuel and air filters etc...is that hard to do?

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Upgrading to LED lights usually involves swapping the entire light out; not just the bulb. They do make LED replacement bulbs for a 1157 bulb, but the real benefit is getting rid of the contacts, etc by switching to a LED system vs a replacement bulb.

Changing Air Filters, Fuel Filters isn't difficult if you're mechanically inclined.


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Hey marine man...was out at Northern and saw the replacement LED kits for 65 bucks. Is it hard to replace the old light housing with the new?

I mean is there matching holes etc...is it just a matter of disconnecting the colored wires and reconnecting them with the matching ones on the new housing and then just fastening it in place?

With my luck I can just see there being an issue with things not matching up on the new housing to where it connects with the trailer etc...

I really do like the looks of the LED lights and having fully submersible lights without worrying about bulbs blowing all the time.



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If they're the same style lights they should bolt up the same. As for the wiring, the new lights may come with push in holes for the wires or if there are wires on the new lights they may be red, white and black. (white is tail, red is turn-stop, back is ground). Wiring on the trailer should be yellow left turn-stop, green right turn-stop, brown is tail lights.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 1 year later...

how difficult is replacing an impeller (90 hp 1996 Merc)? I'm making a point of learning to do as much as I can myself, but I also don't want to take on a job I'm likely to screw up, and end up with a big repair bill.

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