Now that winter is fast approaching, you have likely made plans for winterization and boat storage. If you haven't click here! You are about to turn your attention to off-season activities – kids back at school, spending time at the hockey rink, a trip south to warmer climes, and maybe even Christmas holiday plans with family. And just because your boating season is coming to an end for another year, you shouldn’t stop thinking about the great summer you had, and the one that can’t come soon enough!
How great a summer you’ll have next year could depend on how well your boat and engine are maintained in the meantime. Also, a well-running engine can help increase its fuel economy and the boat’s resale value. Using your boat with this kind of assurance is another great part of the boating experience.
Winter is a great time to think “preventative maintenance.” To do this most effectively, you need to work with your dealer to maximize your time on the water. How involved are they in your boating enjoyment, even in the off-season?
After you winterize your boat, a proactive marina or dealer will wantto talk about three types of maintenance and repair. They should be discussed either in person when you drop off your boat or in correspondence after your boat has been winterized and a proper assessment has been completed.
1. Items that you’ve requested your dealer to address,
2. Preventative maintenance to be followed according to your engine owner’s manual, and
3. Items your dealer discovered during winterization that perhaps you weren’t aware of.
Communication both ways is important! For example, if your cockpit and bow covers are showing their age and you’d like a new set fabricated, now is the time to discuss it. If your dealer indicates that, according to MerCruiser’s recommended maintenance, you should have your serpentine belt replaced, now is the time for the dealer to mention it. And, perhaps most important, if your dealer discovers something that is safety-related, such as a warranty recall, or recommends other more complicated and time-consuming repairs (example, an osmosis repair), now is the time to have this done.
“Winter work,” as it is sometimes called, can be a win-win scenario for both you and your dealer. Since spring launches and new boat deliveries dominate dealers’ spring schedule, choosing to have all of your desired work done in the off-season is the best way to ensure you can turn the key and go come spring. There is nothing worse than a boatload of wakeboarders or dinner party guests anxious to hit the water in a boat that’s not performing to its potential!
Here’s to a short winter and to great boating when the water softens!
Doug Hyde - firstname.lastname@example.org