« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Kevin Schnepf, Published April 29 2007

Is your boat ready?

Area fishermen have 13 days to get their boats ready for the Minnesota fishing opener.

Veteran angler Don Marty maintains much of that should have been done last fall – when the boats were put in storage for the winter.

“Actually, dewinterizing your boat starts by winterizing your boat in the fall,” said Marty, a 58-year-old from Detroit Lakes, Minn., who has owned a fishing boat since 1975.

When Marty takes the cover off of his stored boat this spring, he will have already sprayed WD-40 on all moving engine parts to prevent corrosion. He will have already drained the boat’s lower unit and refilled it with fresh oil.

He will have already greased all external parts. And he will reconnect his battery, which was stored in a warm, dry place.

“Bottom line, my biggest tip is to winterize your boat in the fall,” Marty said.

But if you’re not that organized, Marty offers these springtime tips for boat owners:

- If your boat has a four-cycle engine, check the oil and changed the filter.

- Make sure the batteries are fully charged. To make sure the connections are not corroded, spray with WD-40.

- If so equipped, make sure all belts fit tightly on the motor.

- Make sure all hoses fit tightly.

- Make sure the steering cable is connected and tight.

- Make sure the bilge and aerator pumps are working.

- Make sure to put the drain plug back in.

- Check to see that there are no nicks or cracks on the propeller.

- Test the horn and make sure it works.

- Make sure the fire extinguisher is fully tested.

- If so equipped, make sure the boat’s marine band radio works.

- Check the tilt and trim.

- Make sure the boat is equipped with the proper number of personal flotation devices.

- Make sure the anchor is attached to the rope. “Believe it or not, I’ve heard stories of guys throwing the anchor in and it wasn’t tied to the rope,” Marty said.

- Check the bearings on the wheels of the trailer that will haul your boat.

- Spray any moving parts of the trailer with WD-40.

- Don’t forget about your towing vehicle. Check tires, wiper blades, oil and transmission fluid levels.

- Make sure all lights on the trailer are working.

- And if you are first-time boat owner, it might not be a bad idea to haul it to a big parking lot like Wal-Mart and practice backing up. It’s something you will need to do at the lake’s boat ramp. “And practice using your side mirrors versus looking back all the time,” Marty said.

“All these tips just make sense,” Marty said. “The worst thing that can happen is you’re out on the water and motor won’t start or it won’t shift. Or on your way home, the bearings on the trailer wheels go out.

“It can ruin a good day of fishing.”

Minnesota walleye opener

- When: May 12

- Resident licenses: Individual $18 | Husband/wife $26 | 24-hour $9.50

- Nonresident licenses: Individual $35 | Family $47 | 72-hour $21 | 7-day $25 | 24-hour $9.50 | 14-day couple $36

Next week

- Another area veteran fisherman offers tips on how to get your tackle ready

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549