Ready for the first Boat ride of the year on Jackson Lake…Make sure your boat is prepared first.
We are all ready for this Winter craziness to be over so we can shift gears and get back on the lake with our friends and family. However, if you do not take a few basic steps before you get on the water it could be a costly adventure. Here are a few general tips to get your spring boating off to a smooooth start and this applies to both wave runners, inboards & outboards
• This new Ethanol fuel can be a killer for engines if it has been in your tank for over 90 days*. There are mixed opinions as to what to do with a full tank that’s been sitting for months. For me, it is too big of a risk to see if it burns up my Yamaha 150. The guaranteed solution is to properly dispose of the old fuel and fill up with fresh fuel. If you are constantly burning fuel, there is no need for the more expensive ethanol free fuel. But, if there is a chance the fuel will sit unused for several weeks or months, consider ethanol free,available at Lakeview Marina and Reasor’s Landing, or mix some Stabil or other brand of stabilizer to your tank.
• Change your impeller. This little plastic/ rubber part that usually costs less than $40 keeps cool water running through your engine. A little trash or sand from that time your engine ran aground last year could be disastrous to your engine. Plastic also can become brittle with time and especially with cold winter temps. Most recommend changing EVERY YEAR. The last time I didn’t take the time, it cost me a complete rebuild of a 454 engine and several thousand dollars. Lesson learned!
• Time for an oil change. An annual basic oil change is inexpensive and a must as we all know.
• Check your propeller and skeg. Make sure your prop & skeg is straight and true. If you can’t repair, connect with a mechanic. One of my favorite scrabble words, the skeg on an outboard is the metal fin just below the prop that helps with steering. On an inboard it is usually under the boat and tied directly to the steering mechanism. If it is not smooth, drag occurs. If it is not straight, you boat will pull to one side. A bent or chipped prop can have the same effect on efficiency. It should be smooth and balanced for optimal performance.
• Spring cleaning for your boat. We all have pride in the appearance of our watercraft. It is vital for top efficiency to ensure the part that we can’t see is as clean as the interior. There are products available that do an amazing job in eliminating all that ugly stuff and stains that accumulate on our boat hulls.
The more algae and other materials the are on our hulls the less efficient ( fast) our boat will be. This is especially the case with pontoons.
• Get rid of the mildew. Another item of discussion amongst boat owners is what is the best, safest and lasting process to get rid of mold & mildew from seats and carpet. I have had excellent results with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Spray on with an old windex bottle, scrub and wait a few minutes. Beware, bleach will destroy the stitching in your upholstery. It is vital that you rinse & rinse & rinse again to make sure it is all removed after cleaning. After cleaning generously apply your favorite protectant like Armour All. Also, consider the purchase of a small boat de-humidifier from your boat dealer or Overtons to put on board under your cover when not in use. It really cuts down moisture and therefore dramatically reduces mold etc.
• Safety check. Make sure you know the new boating rules. I will put a link on my site. Inspect bow lines, flotation equipment, fire extinguisher, horn, lights, and buy a whistle(new law). Also be aware of the new BUI/DUI guidelines and if you must drink…there must be a designated sober Captain. From the information I have gathered over the years, over 90% of all boating related deaths in Ga. Have been caused in part by two factors: Boating under the influence & improper lighting at night. If you see someone acting dangerously on the lake, immediately call 911 and the sheriff will dispatch a unit ASAP.
Whether you are on your 24 ft. pontoon or racing across the lake on your favorite wave runner you will have a safer and more enjoyable day if you follow these spring prep tips.
Have a great day on Jackson Lake!