Spring means boat preparation

GARRISON – Despite visual evidence to the contrary, the open water season will arrive sometime in 2013. April 15 is usually considered to be about the last day of frozen water but this year is different. Some area lakes still have 3 feet or more of ice on them.

The ice pack will dissolve, eventually, and fishermen will be among the first to get back on the water. For many, it will mean putting their boat in the water for the first time since parking it last fall. It also means it is prime time for problems to arise. Before pulling your boat to the lake for the first time this spring, experts advise taking some time to check for some common problems.

“If they didn’t winterize them they should be looking at changing their gear lube, test running the motor, checking the batteries and all the pumps,” said Tim Hunter, North Country Marine mechanic in Garrison.

Among the common problems with getting boat motors running smoothly after sitting idle for a winter is loose or corroded battery cables or gasoline that has aged in the tank.

“If they didn’t get the fuel stabilized, it gets old,” explained Hunter. Carburetors and fuel pumps might need cleaning.”

It isn’t just the motor that needs a check-up. Mechanic Kevin Bosch of North Country Marine said there are other things that boaters need to take a look at before taking a boat to the lake for the first time this spring.

“Check the wheel bearings on the trailer. Make sure all the pumps work and put air in the tires because most of them are flat, or almost flat, after sitting all winter,” said Bosch. “Check the lights, too, and the winch strap.”

Bosch noted that fuel-injected engines tend to operate more trouble-free than carbureted versions, but advised that a set of spark plugs every spring is a good idea. With that in mind, says Bosch, boaters should take a serious look at fuel additives designed to keep their boat motors running smoothly.

“There’s some additives that are real good for these things. The engine manufacturers have some real good cleaning additives and chemicals that keep injectors clean so they don’t stick,” said Bosch. “The carbon buster injector cleaners can definitely make a big difference.”

Spring is the time when watercraft owners all across the state are eager to get their craft on the water. It is also a very busy time for boat shops. Those who wish to have a professional help get their boat ready for spring should make an appointment as soon as possible to avoid a seasonal rush and a possible delay in getting on the water.