By Sam Rutherford
Winterizing the bass boat. Just the thought can send shivers down the spines of boat owners. For one, the timing generally means the end of tournament season, unless, of course, you live in Florida.
By winterizing your boat, you can help ensure that when the first warm day of spring awakens your boating senses, the drive to the boat ramp will end there, instead of making a U-turn back to the dealership.
Skeeter Boats recommends having a qualified Skeeter dealer winterize your boat, including servicing the outboard motor and other working parts. Above all else, follow the service experts' advice at the dealership and whatever do-it-yourself tasks you can do yourself.
When the boat is ready for pickup, there is more you can do. Here's a list of tasks you can do and what might happen if you avoid doing them.
First, clean the hull. Gelcoat is the outermost layer on a fiberglass hull, designed to protect the underlying fiberglass layers. Protection aside, gelcoat is what gives the boat its glassy shine and good looks. Giving the boat a thorough bath before putting it to bed for the winter helps prevent problems as the boat ages.
Avoid causing more harm than good when cleaning gelcoat. Choose cleaners with chelating agents that clean on a molecular level and bring out dirt as you rinse.
Here's what can happen if you skip this task. Exposure to sun and water—the two environmental givens in boating—causes the gelcoat to lose its oils and dry out.
Don't stop there with the elbow grease. Give the boat a wax job. That will replenish oils, restore the glossy appearance, and bring back the original luster. Use a wax designed for marine use to get the job done right.
Skip this tip, and over time the plasticizers responsible for the shine leach out, leaving a dull appearance.
Mold and mildew become problematic even in cold weather due to the moisture that comes from rain and snow. Winter air can shift between humid and dry, and both conditions can bring grief to upholstery. Another unwelcome invader is mold and mildew, which can form over the winter when surfaces remain moist.
If your boat must be stored outdoors, prevent mold and mildew from ruining carpet and upholstery by following these steps. If using a custom boat cover designed for your boat, vent the cover for good airflow to minimize moisture retention.
Last but certainly not least, remove expensive and valuable electronics and store them inside. Remove the batteries and store them inside, too, unless the boat is stored inside a garage. Then, spray all exposed electrical connections with a moisture-displacing lubricant.
Follow these tips, and your boat will be tournament ready when spring arrives.
For more information or to find a dealer nearest you, visit www.skeeterboats.com. Find Skeeter news, team activities, happenings, and events by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
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