We are at the time of the season that boat owners who have not winterized boats yet will need to consider some end-of-the-season prep soon. It is easiest to turn your boat, motor and trailer over to a marine specialist before putting your boat away for the winter. If you are a do-it-yourself person, then I will cover a few considerations that may be good reminders for you.
With your boat, make sure all compartments are cleaned out and no snacks or drinks have been left on board. Dryer sheets in compartments can help keep mice from making a winter home of your boat. It is always wise to make sure that bait wells and live wells don't have any minnows (or regurgitated minnows). A spring surprise of this type is not pleasant and the odor is tough to get rid of after a long winter. Charge all batteries and make sure you charge them once a month if you leave them in the boat. Now is also a good time to clean all connections. Remove electronics and put them in the house for the winter.
When it comes to your trailer, a couple of simple checks now can make the spring prep easier and safer. Make sure all the lights are working and cover the plug with some electrical tape to reduce corrosion of the leads. Check the trailer bearings, repacking them now makes sure you are ready to roll down the highway on next seasons maiden voyage. If you have bearing buddies on the hubs, grease them up so they are full. Check the tire pressure and make sure they are not low. When it gets extremely cold the air condenses and they loose pressure. If they are low to start, they can loose the bead and go flat. If they sit flat to long before they get noticed a perfectly good tire can be ruined.
The motor needs your fall/winter attention. Add a stabilizer to the fuel and run the motor with the additive to circulate through the fuel system. If you have a carbureted motor, disconnect the fuel line and run it out of gas to prevent varnishing. Fog the motor on those carbureted engines also. Old aluminum tanks should be filled and before adding the additive to the fuel as this will help prevent condensation and moisture from contaminating your fuel. The newer plastic tanks are not as much of a problem for that, but I think it wise to make sure fuel is fresh, a stabilizer added, and then fresh fuel added again in the spring.
Changing the lower unit oil now can make sure there is no water in the lower unit. Refill with fresh lower unit oil so you are ready to go with no potential gear problems in the spring. If you did have water, you have a problem and need to be serviced and diagnosed for any potential lower unit issue.
It is getting to be that time of the season we will be transitioning to prepare for the upcoming ice season.
Columnist Brad Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.