You may still be enjoying a brief second summer on your Boston Whaler but it’s time to think about post-season engine maintenance and winterizing your boat. Even if you live in a year-round boating climate like Florida, you should consider caring for your boat engine to keep it running smoothly. Here are some quick steps to get the job done.
Read your owner’s manual
Your Boston Whaler manual should outline how to maintain a boat engine year-round. It’ll have tips on overall winterizing as well.
Flush the motor
You should flush the outboard motor after each trip (whether you run in saltwater or not) but that’s especially important if you’ll be laying up your boat for 5-6 months. Never run your outboard dry and without cooling water. Don’t put the engine in gear.
Check the water pump
The flow should be substantial. If there’s little water and it’s hot, shut down the engine before turning off the water and then check the water outflow to see if it’s clogged. If it’s not clogged, you may need to investigate the water pump and impeller.
Disconnect the fuel line
Old fuel can gum up the system, so disconnect the fuel source from the motor, letting the engine run through the fuel that’s already in its system. Drain and dispose of the fuel properly or if the tanks are large, add a fuel stabilizer. Next season, start with fresh fuel if possible.
Drain any cooling water
Especially if you store the boat and engine where temperatures drop below freezing, be sure to drain all the water from the engine before winter layup.
Check under the cowling
Visually check for fuel or water leaks once the engine cover is off. If you find some, wipe everything down. If they come back, you may need to contact your mechanic.
To minimize corrosion, use lubricant to lubricate all moving parts including throttle cables, valves and shifters.
Inspect all parts visually
Check the primer bulb and fuel lines for cracks. Double check that hose clamps to make sure they’re tight and corrosion-free.ˆnspect fuel tanks and the venting system. Test the propeller to see if it wobbles, has nicks or needs to be lubricated as well. Check the engine mounts and any zinc anodes. Take a look at the condition of the cowling and take a minute to wash, wax and cover it.
Disconnect the battery
Wipe down battery connectors and clean off any corrosion. Disconnect the battery if the boat will be stored on a trailer and won’t need a working bilge pump.
Caring for your boat engine is protecting your boating investment. Don’t skip these critical end-of-summer steps whether you’re taking them on as a DIY project or making an appointment with your Boston Whaler dealer.