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Boat Storage for the Winter
Fishing boats often take their worst beating during the storage season,
when slow time and harsh weather have the chance to gang up on boat,motor
and trailer. Winter does not damage all boats, only those that have
been put away improperly. Boats need protection from elements. It’s
best to store them over winter in an enclosed place a garage, barn or shed
preferably where they won’t be subjected to variations in temperature or
at least temperature extremes. Boat covers provide an extra measure
of protection, whether the boat is stored indoors or outside. Beware,
however, of relying on just a boat cover to protect your boat. Too
often water will pool on top of these covers, and the heavy, constant weight
of the water will literally bend a hull. Almost everyone knows to elevate
the trailer tongue and remove the drain plug, so that water can exit the
boat. They should also recognize how easily leaf debris or ice can
foil this drainage system. Only an overhead shelter can provide sure
protection against water buildup, and it prevents the mold damage frequently
caused by a close fitting cover.b Lubrication is best accomplished with
a warm engine. With the lower unit in the water, take off the cowling,
start the motor and disconnect the gas line. As the fuel remaining
in the carburetor burns up, squirt oil directly into the carburetor intake.
In a few seconds, the outboard will start gasping and smoking. Shut
it off quickly. At this point a nice coat of protective oil covers
the interior of the cylinders and crankcase. The powerhead can also be
lubricated after the motor is out of the water. Remove the motor’s
spark plugs and inject a bit of same oil, into each cylinder. Turn
the motor over a few times, then replace the spark plugs. The gears of
an outboard’s lower unit are bathed in a heavy oil, which should be changed
annually. Before draining the lubricant, check for water contamination
of the lower unit by loosening just the lower gearcase plug. If water
trickles out before the lubricant starts to seep, your seals are probably
bad. Either take the motor to a repair shop or replace them yourself.
Check your propeller. If the blades are nicked, worn or bent back,
your motor will not operate at its peak power of fuel efficiency. Unless
they are badly worn or damaged, propellers can be made like new
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