THE DOWN AND DIRTY
Before you tuck your boat back in for its
winter’s nap, take a quick look around the
engine compartment and at the batteries.
Look for swollen or cracked hoses,
rusted or broken hose clamps, and chafed
or melted wires. Give wire and hose connections a tug — better to have them come apart
now than while you’re not around. If you
have a generator, check the fittings.
Look for any fuel, oil, or cooling-water leaks. You don’t want your bilge
pump to spew oil into the water next spring;
in addition to polluting the environment, you
could be in for a big fine.
If your boat is in the water, check to make
sure that water in the bilge isn’t coming from
works with the battery master switch in the
Open and close each seacock a
couple of times to keep them from seizing.
If your boat is in the water, make sure that
all seacocks are closed (with the exception of
cockpit drains); many a cracked or slipped
hose has sunk a boat. If your boat is on the
hard, now’s a good time to take sticky seacocks apart for servicing.
your stuffing box; leaking stuffing boxes sink
boats every year. A stuffing box should not
drip at all when the engine is not running.
Examine the bellows (flexible rubber
connections that seal the outdrive and cables
passing through the boat) on your sterndrive
if you have one. Look for cracks between the
Check your hoses, scuppers, and stuffing box to be sure your boat doesn’t end
up like this.
folds and check for a trail of water from the
bellows to the bilge.
Inspect battery terminals for corrosion and top off the battery with distilled
water (if you have conventional wet cells).
If you have a multimeter, check the state of
charge; 12.6V is typically fully charged, but
the voltage can be as high as 13.8V if attached
to a charger. If you’re plugged in to shore
power, make sure your battery charger is the
kind that turns off when the battery is topped
up to prevent overcharging. Most automotive
chargers don’t work that way, and they’re not
ignition protected, which means they could
spark a fire from a fuel leak.
When you’ve finished your inspection,
don’t forget to close and lock all ports, hatches,
and the companionway to prevent theft. Then
go have a nice, long lunch with your boating
buddies and tell a few sea stories. If you visit
your boat once or twice a month, not only will
the winter go by more quickly, but you’ll rest
more easily when the last few storms of the
season start rattling the windows.
FOR A FREE BOATU.S. INSURANCE QUOTE, CALL 1-800-283-2883
OR APPLY ONLINE AT WWW.BOATUS.COM/BOATINSURANCE