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Little time and money will prevent boat damage

By By BEN NORMAN
Outdoors Columnist
Now that hunting season is here, many sportsmen have parked their boats and will devote their spare time to pursuing game for a few months. For those who store their boat through the winter months, a little time spent preparing the boat and trailer for storage can prevent large repair bills next spring. Alton Jones, with Skeeter Boats, offers a few tips on how to prepare any boat for storage.
Jones says protecting your boat from the sun between outings will keep it looking good for a long time. A boat cover is one of the best investments you can make if you don't keep your boat inside a garage. The cover allows air to circulate, keeping the boat dry and clean inside.
As soon as you get your boat out of the water and into the parking lot, wipe it down with a soft cloth to keep watermarks and stains from setting on the hull. It only takes a few minutes and pays off big time. Some people like to use spray furniture polish when they wipe down the boat. It can help remove marks and keep the boat clean. Wax keeps stains and alkalis off but increases the chances of sun damage, so use a product that says "cleaner polish." There are many brands made just for boats.
If you plan to store your boat for an extended period, such as over the winter, add a gas stabilizer made specifically for storage. Fuel is meant to be used quickly, and if you put your boat away without stabilizing the fuel, the fuel can deteriorate with the potential to clog filters, lines and jets or injectors when you go to restart the engine.
Draining the fuel is not a good solution. Some fumes will remain and moisture could form. Fill the tank and add stabilizer before storing the boat for long periods of time. Yamaha dealers offer one of the best lines of boat care products that are formulated especially for marine use.
Lubricants in your engine may also degrade after long periods of storage. To prevent this, add a good oil stabilizer to the engine before long-term storage. While you're protecting the inside of the engine, don't neglect the outside. Exterior metal parts and rubber and plastic parts will benefit from protection from the elements. Steering cables, throttle linkage and trim controls can be protected by spraying them with protectants that form a barrier against corrosion.
A little time and money spent wisely at the time of storage will result in a boat that is ready to go when you take the cover off next spring.