Pulling the weather cover off the stern of my skiff, I saw the first of my problems. Some time last fall I must have had to get into the winter-prepped boat. Why I’m not sure, but it was well forward in the console. That I could tell from the muddy tracks. Since the trail remained on my deck all winter, I knew it was going to take some elbow grease to get it scrubbed out. That job became No. 1 on my shakedown list.
Next came batteries. Putting a battery gauge on them, I was relieved to see that they still both held about half a charge. They would nonetheless need to be fully charged before I went back out.
Lifting the cover further, I gasped at a slight trail of hydraulic fluid coming from the rear edge of the center console. It was not extensive but definitely not a good sign, thus becoming the new No. 1 task to be resolved.
Before you get on the water, it’s time for you, like me, to do a thorough check of your boat’s operations. A number of areas can be addressed immediately. Begin with your batteries. Nothing is harder on a boat battery than enduring a winter with a depleted charge. Don’t assume that a quick charge will remedy the situation. The unit, quite likely, has suffered cell damage. If you’ve allowed them to discharge over the winter, they may have to be replaced.
Next, hook the engine up to a water supply and fire it up to run for at least 10 minutes. That should clear your fuel lines and reassure you that your gasoline has not soured over winter. If you didn’t change or top off your engine lubricants, engine oil, lower unit grease, control line grease and live-well pump (inboard and portable) last fall, now is the time to get on it.