BlogMay 2017

How to dewinterize a boat engine

How to dewinterize a boat engine

By Tom Keer

May 26, 2017

Spring outboard maintenance gets all motors ready for the fishing and boating season.  Here are five tips to get your outboard in ship shape.

To fully prepare for fishing season you've got to dewinterize your boat.  Here's how to dewinterize a boat engine with 5 key points to cover.  There are other regular boat maintenance tasks like working on your hull or your trailer that should be addressed, too.  When it's all done you will enjoy the sound of listening to your engine sing.
1.  Where did you leave off last season?  If your boat maintenance last fall was thorough then you don't need to do much to prepare for the fishing season.  Check all fluids such as oil and coolant and top off as needed.  Shift your focus elsewhere.

2.  Battery.  All batteries need to be charged, so pull out your trickle charger and put some juice back into your battery.  Install when you're done.

3.  Fresh gas.  Your gas tank is likely half-full with stabilized gas, so head to the pump and top it off with fresh gas.  You'll burn through the old gas on your shakedown cruise and first few trips.

4.  Cables and hoses.  Rubber breaks down in heat, sunlight and cold temperatures.  Check cable tightness and integrity.  Other rubber parts that need to be inspected are fuel and coolant hoses.  They're part of inseason boat maintenance, but after the thaw a thorough review is important, too.  Rubber breaks down in cold weather, so look for cranks and replace where necessary. 

5.  Check the distributor cap, for the winter moisture causes metal parts to corrode.  Remove, clean and replace if necessary.  Tighten loose spark plugs, too.
Perform other regular tasks at the same time.  Be sure your boat registration is current, that your safety gear and life preservers are stowed, that your trailer lights are operational and your hubs are packed with grease. 
Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at