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Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Before its too late, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds Coloradoans to winterize boats prior to storage so dividends of fun keep paying when the boat is back on the water.

“Boaters are rightfully anxious to get back on the water in the spring,” says CPW Boating Safety Manager Kris Wahlers “It can be really disappointing when they find out their boat isn’t working because of a mechanical issue. A stalled boat is not only inconvenient and usually costly, it could be a big safety problem too.”

CPW’s Boating Safety Program suggests several ways to winterize boats.

•First, it is important to get water out before a hard freeze (temperatures at or below 28 degrees Fahrenheit or -2 degrees Celsius). If water is inside a sealed container, it won’t necessarily evaporate and needs to be drained. If not drained, the water turns to ice at these temperatures causing expansion and possible damage to the container. If that container is the engine, manifolds, water pumps, ballast tanks, or bilge, there will be a lot of repairs to be done before any future boating.

•Another winterizing task is to put the appropriate amount of marine fuel stabilizer in the tank and top it off. This helps keep the water out and fuel healthy as the boat sets for a few months without the engine running. Adding an additive to the fuel and fogging the cylinders also helps to keep the engine in good condition as well.

•Finally, change the oil and gear lube prior to winter boat storage. Getting out the old lubricants also help to get out any water that may have collected there. Restoring oil and lube to proper levels ensure the water stays out. When draining fluids, be sure to look for metal shavings or signs of water, so they can be addressed prior to storage.If there just doesn’t seem to be time to winterize your boat, the tasks seem daunting, or a serious issue arises, call your local factory authorized center for professional advice or assistance. Completing smaller services like these now can help to avoid serious problems next spring.

•Store the boat safe. Keep the boat covered, wrapped or indoors to prevent accumulation of water or snow. If snow collects on the cover, knock it off before it gets too heavy as it could break the windshield.

“This is also a great time too get your 2015 boating registration,” adds Wahlers. “Registering your boat now or over the winter will ensure you have registration in hand and ready go for the first trip of the season!”

Ensuring your boat is registered prevents an unwanted investment in additional fees and fines.