Just over 1 month to go before Thousands of anglers hit the open waters of The Bay Of Quinte for the famous walleye derby we have here every year, The Kiwanis Walleye World (live release) fishing derby. to find out more on the derby click the link. ( http://www.kiwaniswalleyeworld.com/ )
Anyway every year this is my favorite event to enter. Its open to the public, there are so many prizes from boat, motor, and trailer prizes to winning tickets, or even just a hat. You can even win prizes if you don’t fish the derby. I wanted to give a bit of insight into what I do in preparation for the coming open water season. I have out board motors and always have, so that is where my experience lies when it comes to the preventative maintenance. First and foremost if you don’t know what your doing, it’s best to take your boat to a boat mechanic for any work done to it.
1st. When the good spring weather begins. I go over my boat to see how it has wintered, Being that I live in Canada and winter can get extremely cold. I check for weather cracks in the hull and the motors top to bottom, pay special & close attention to the lower end units of your outboards even the slightest hairline crack in your prop can cause major problems and may become costly to repair if not addressed immediately.
2nd, The batteries are a major concern for me, it would be better to take them out of your boat and stored properly over the winter, however lets face it even if you take the up most care of them that doesn’t mean they are ready to perform at the top level they should after a long winters nap. If you do not know how to properly check if your batteries are in top working order then take it to your boat mechanic to get them inspected thoroughly. If there is any Question about their functionality, have them replaced. To clean your batteries use a recommended product by your Mechanic, I use WD-40, clean the terminals using a wire brush or terminal cleaner, and make sure to coat the terminal posts with some sort of grease either a silicone compound or maybe an easier method which you may have in your house already Petroleum Jelly, either works fine, but we expose our boat batteries to moisture every day on the water, so it will help protect them from rusting on you. make absolutely sure to test the charge of your battery. they should charge to 13.2 V or more, leave it for 24 hours then come check it to make sure they hold that charge. If you are loosing a charge then perhaps its time to have them replaced.
3rd. Change your fluids, although you should have changed all your fluids at the end of the season before winter it is a good idea and doesn’t hurt to change your lower end oil again or at least check it if you did change it at the end of last season. oil and fuel filters should be changed out at the beginning of the year as well as your plugs. Check the gas to make sure no water or condensation built up in the tank. If it did pump it out before trying to start the motors.
4th. This item seems to be missed so often but it is maybe as important as your boat plug and that is you Bilge pump. before you even leave the house in the spring make sure you test all of your electronics, examples would be, your gauges, lights, and horn, all important, but maybe the most overlooked is the bilge pump. this item is a major emergency tool that will save your boat from sinking on the water if something goes very wrong. It gets a lot of use during the season and on every trip, so make sure it is running smoothly. Also make sure the bottom of your boat is clear of debris, when water gets in, it is amazing what will find its way to the bilge pump clogging it and rendering the pump useless just when you need it most. On top of checking to make sure it works maybe have a spare on the boat just in case.
5th. Check all your Safety equipment, although this is a given it is a good idea to make sure you have all the proper safety gear for your boat and it is back on board, and that none of the equipment has expired. It would be a shame to get everything in order just to have your trip ruined because your flares were out of date, or your flashlights batteries died, or your charts were not updated, etc. each category or class of vessel has a separate set of rules for the safety equipment you are to have on board, so make sure you have the right safety gear for your boat.
6th. Testing your boat. It is a great idea to get your boat in the water before opening weekend or before you go away for a boating weekend with your buddies and give the boat a good run up a lake. Let the boat soak for a bit. then open up any port holes and see if any water got in from anywhere. This gives you time to fix any problems before you go away with all your buddies only to be found stuck on land because you didn’t check out the boat before you left. This is also where you will find out how your impellers are working and if they need any attention or not, of course you may have done that at home with the garden hose but if not this is where you’ll find out LOL.
7. Boat ramp etiquette. Ok this is not about boat maintenance but I think is a topic that still needs to be addressed. I have seen it so many times at the launch especially in the early spring when a person may not have a lot of experience launching a boat or even been at a launch ever in his or her life, this is where you will find all the newbies. but what disgusts me is the attitude everyone else in line waiting to put their boats in, have. It eould be nice if everyone had some patience for these people. We have all been in this persons shoes before, we were not born to be able to back up trailers or automatically know what to do when launching a boat so please be patient with these people and better yet, offer assistance, show them what to do. help the situation, stop being part of the problem, I can assure you it is not helpful to yell at someone taking a bit longer and stressing them out even more than they already are. put yourself in their shoes believe me when I say, “you have been there at some point in your life before”. ways to avoid stresses of boat ramp rage is to get to the ramp extra early, especially during the opening of any fishing season.
8th. On the water . This is my favorite. I love the Kiwanis Walleye derby every year, what I get very annoyed with however is the amount of people that have a serious lack of respect for others on the water during this event. Now there are literally thousands of boats throughout the Bay of Quinte on the water for opening weekend, however many people seem to forget who has the right of way on the water in many circumstances, so all I am going to say about this is I would recommend everyone refresh yourself about the rules of the water prior to launching your boat, and not just this year, but every year. It does not take long and you can do it on line. here is just one link, there are several. http://www.boaterexam.com/canada/education/c6-nauticalrules-en.aspx
I hope this was useful for you, and hope everyone has a safe time boating in 2016.