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TALKIN' WITH DOKKEN: Winterizing boats

Q. With the colder temperatures in the air, what steps should one take to winterize their boats? A. I'm definitely not the best person to offer tips on this question, as more often than not, my winterizing involves parking the boat in the shed an...

Q. With the colder temperatures in the air, what steps should one take to winterize their boats?

A. I'm definitely not the best person to offer tips on this question, as more often than not, my winterizing involves parking the boat in the shed and hoping for the best the following spring. My boat has external tanks, so I usually transfer any remaining gasoline to another vehicle. I also disconnect the batteries, make sure they're fully charged and, if I'm really ambitious, I might even strap on the cover.

That being said, Lindy, the fishing tackle company, recently sent out a news release titled "Ten Steps to Save Your Boat This Winter." Follow this advice, and your boat and motor should be ready for water next spring.

• Drain the motor and livewell, make sure valves are open, pull the plug and drain.

• Fog the motor head with fogging oil and spray the spark plugs with WD40. Inspect the lower unit oil and change it if it's a milky color.

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• Add fuel stabilizer to any remaining gasoline.

• Inspect your propeller for line, debris or nicks. Remove the propeller and grease and lube the prop shaft.

• Run RV anti-freeze through livewell and bilge systems and thoroughly dry any places where moisture can collect. Remove drain plugs and leave the boat in a nose-up, tilted position to allow any moisture build-up during storage to drain.

• Clean battery connections with a wire brush and add distilled water to the proper level if the battery needs it. Charge periodically on a low, continuous charge and never store on cold concrete.

• Check fuses and wipe them with an oily rag to prevent corrosion. Add a shot of lubricant to bow and stern light areas to avoid corrosion and maintain connection.

• Clean or power-wash the boat before storing and look for oxidation on aluminum boats. Make sure boat is dry, remove food and candy wrappers and add a couple of mouse traps just in case rodents get in. Mothballs also can help keep rodents at bay.

• Check trailer tire pressure, light bulbs, bearing buddies and Zerk fittings. Make sure wheels spin without grinding and add grease as needed.

• If you're really diligent, wrap heat tape such as the kind used to keep pipes from freezing around the entire motor from top to bottom. It will keep the motor above freezing even at subzero temperatures.

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If you have a question for Talkin' with Dokken, call (701) 780-1148 or send an email to bdokken@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: FISHING
Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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