Spring is the in the air, and that means we’ll all be hitting the lakes, rivers and bays in search of hard-fighting fresh and saltwater gamefish. Whether you’ve had your boat buttoned up tight and stored away all winter long, or it’s just been a while since you’ve had her out for a day of fishing, you want that first trip of the season to go off without a hitch.
The process of “Spring Commissioning” is all about getting your boat and motor ready after any kind of extended layoff. Here are some tips all boaters can use to help ensure smooth sailing when they hit the water this spring.
First, do a thorough visual inspection of your boat from stem to stern. Open hatches, lockers and other places where water may have gotten in and caused freeze damage, or in warmer climates, mold and mildew. Peek under the engine cowl or engine hatch to make sure that rodents or birds haven’t gotten in and used these enclosed spaces as a winter home. It happens more than you think, and these critters can cause some serious damage!
Inspect your batteries and terminal connections for leaks or corrosion. If you note any corrosion on the battery terminals, clean with a wire brush and treat with a dielectric grease to stop corrosion from coming back. Add distilled water to your battery’s cells if needed, and bring your batteries up to a full state-of-charge before that first trip.
Go around the boat and power up all your lights, electronics, pumps and other electrical systems. Now is the right time to find out about blown fuses, loose, corroded wires, or other glitches — not during that much anticipated first fishing trip of the season.
Make sure you open all of your boat’s seacocks that provide water flow to live bait tanks, livewells and washdown pumps. If the seacock mechanisms are corroded or are hard to manipulate, consider replacing them.
If you properly stored your boat for the offseason using Techron® Marine Protection Plus Fuel Treatment and changed your water-separating fuel filter, you’ll be good to go. If you didn’t, you’ll need to give your fuel system some TLC now. Change your water separating fuel filter, then add the proper amount of Techron Marine to your fuel tank and top it off with fresh fuel. Remember, just once ounce of Techron Marine treats 10 gallons of fuel. Using it with every fill-up is a great way to keep your boat’s entire fuel system and engine in top shape all season long.
You’ll also want to hook the engine to a water source (or put the boat in the water), start the engine and let it run at idle for a few minutes. This will burn off any fogging spray you may have used months back, and will completely clean out the engine’s internal fuel system. It will also make sure that the Techron Marine has time to circulate throughout the entire system.
Finally, don’t wait until the night before that first trip of the season to take care of these items. You want to make sure you have time to fix any problems you might find. It’s shaping up to be a great fishing season, so get out there and have some fun!