BoatTECH TIP: WINTER BATTERY STORAGE
WHEN WET-CELL BATTERIES ARE ALLOWED TO DISCHARGE, the electrolyte becomes pure water, which will freeze and ruin the battery. If you can, take the battery off your boat and store it somewhere dry and cool (but not freez-
ing). You may have heard that a battery will discharge if left on a concrete floor, but
modern batteries make this precaution unnecessary.
Wash and thoroughly dry the top of the battery to reduce the potential for self-discharge.
Don’t leave stored batteries connected to a portable charger. Unless the charger turns off completely — few do — the batteries will suffer damage. However, stored batteries should be brought to
full charge once a month, so post a reminder for yourself.
If the batteries will be stored aboard because they’re too heavy for convenient removal, they must
be maintained in a full-charge condition all winter. This requires a charger with a “float” stage and
power connection. In lieu of an unattended power connection, a solar panel might be employed to
counter self-discharge. Find more winterizing tips and battery hints at www.BoatUS.com/Boat TECH
Permanently Installed Gasoline Fuel Systems,
www.abycinc.org). If you had, let’s say, a generator in that space, then you need a unit that
passes the “fire test” (a metal bowl is generally used to meet this requirement). There are
manufacturers that have a clear bowl with a
metal shield that allows you to still see the
fuel in the filter and determine if it’s dirty
or has water in it. The good news is that if a
builder advertises that he follows the ABYC
standards, then he also complies with the
federal regulations plus much, much more!
opportunity, while the tank is empty, to have
the same professional check and clean the
tank. It’s money well-invested.
STANDARDS VS. REGULATIONS
I own a 2004 Aquasport with twin outboards
and want to know about the fuel/water
separator bowl mounted on the fuel filters.
I read that the USCG requires the metal
bowl on enclosed engine compartments (fire
resistance), while on outboards the plastic
clear bowl is allowed. My fuel filters are
mounted in the aft bilge compartment on
the transom. Could I use the much more
practical clear bowl, or do I still need the
metal ones because the filter is in the bilge
JOHN ADEY: The answer in your case
is based on the difference between federal regulations and standards; you have an
outboard-powered boat and therefore you are
not subjected to the fuel regulations. From
an ABYC standards standpoint, you can use a
clear bowl because the location is not inside
a “gasoline engine space” (as per ABYC H- 24
Your BoatTECH files ( www.BoatUS.com/
BoatTECH) recommend changing engine oil
twice a year if the boat is seasonal. Wouldn’t it
make sense to just drain it when you quit using
it, and then refill it when you start using it?
DON CASEY: No. If you are trying to save
the cost of an additional oil change (or if you
have environmental concerns about unnecessary oil “consumption”), fill the engine
with your fresh oil at decommissioning. It
will store nearly as well there as in a jug,
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