November is here, and it is time for those who do not do much fishing after the snow falls to start putting our gear away for the winter. Considering all that has to be done to protect our investments for another season, I thought I would begin with many people’s largest investment, the boat and motor.

The boat hull should be cleaned and dried before winter. Before covering it until next season, inspect the hull for any damage and determine whether repairs are necessary.

Inspect the outboard motor, too, especially checking the skeg for chips and bends that will affect engine performance. The engine should be fogged to coat the cylinder walls and pistons with a light film of oil for winter storage. Add a fuel stabilizer like Stabil to the fuel tank, and run some of it through the fuel system while fogging the motor.

Currently, marine manufacturers advise having at least three-quarters of a tank of fuel for winter storage to help reduce condensation in the fuel tank. Inspect all the fuel lines for sun damage, cracking or splits, and replace as needed.

I recommend replacing the lower unit oil now rather than waiting until spring. Having the engine sit with dirty oil all winter is not a good thing. Last but not least, fully charge the batteries and remove them for the winter. The best time to make repairs to the hull or motor is over the winter, when the boat is not in use. Many marine repair shops will be willing to talk a deal for work over the winter months, so check around for the best price.

Do not forget to check the boat trailer, too. Carpet on the bunks of a bunk trailer may need to be replaced, a job I’ll be doing this winter. I would also recommend having the trailer bearings checked every two years. Examine the tires for signs of dry rotting on the sidewalls; even if the tread is still good, new tires may be necessary.

Some of this could be put off until spring. But come spring, most fishermen want to go fishing, not do boat, motor and trailer maintenance. Next time we will talk about winter prep for the rest of the gear. Until then, keep a tight line.

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