De-winterize Your Boat: How to ensure a safe return on the water this spring

Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 2:46 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2022 at 5:51 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Sunshine and warm weather are bringing boaters back to the lake. Lake officials say de-winterizing your boat is important for a safe return on the water.

There are several things you want to do before firing up your boat for the first time this year. This includes checking the engine, battery, and fuel system among others.

“Most of my guests are de-winterizing boats right now,” said State Park Marina General Manager Mitch Schupp. “They start their motors look in to make sure there’s no water, sometimes varmints get in their boat this time of year and they clean all that stuff up.”

Schupp says after you have checked for any other kinds of damage you need to check your safety gear.

”Life jackets do deteriorate over time,” Schupp said. “You should check your fire extinguishers in the boat whether they are current and ready to go and make sure you have throw cushions and boat paddles.”

Boater Wade Wheeler spent the day prepping his boat. He says this is his first day back on the water since fall. Wheeler says basic engine prep is important and you should be checking for any leaks that may have occurred over the winter.

”Check your oil, lower unit fluid, the drive units have their own fluids that keep it working,” Wheeler said. “You need to have that checked and up to speed.”

He says boaters need to make sure they have all their flotation devices, ropes, and enough fuel. As boater traffic increases, you need to be aware of your surroundings as well.

“When you’re out there on the water and driving you need to have your head on a swivel because people are coming from every direction and if you’re not watching that’s how accidents happen.”

Schupp says for your first time back on the water this year, make sure it’s in the daytime so there are others on the water in case of an emergency.

”Even though it’s beautiful out and 75 degrees, the water is still cold,” said Schupp. “Wear the appropriate gear, make sure your crew is ready to go and it should be safe and fun.”

To check lake levels CLICK HERE. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather when planning a day on the water with the free KY3 First Alert Weather App.

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