Easter marks the end of the boating season for many Victorian bread and butter fishermen. Snapper season is ending, winter is just around the corner, gear goes into storage and those long-overdue maintenance tasks are (finally) about to get done.
All good boaters know that preventing corrosion is an essential part of boat ownership. Proper and regular maintenance stops things from breaking or failing which is why winterising your boat — and especially the motor — is such a vital part of your maintenance routine.
Or is it?
Who should winterise?
“The more you use your boat, the better it will be,” says Nick Purvis from Coastline Marine. “If your boat gets regular use during winter, then you don’t necessarily have to winterise it,” he says.
Nick certainly knows boat engines. A marine mechanic for 15 years, he operates near Patterson Lakes and Sandringham Yacht Club. The engines he sees each day range from portable recreational outboards to big commercial diesels — and he says the best way to prevent an engine from deteriorating is to keep using it.
“On recreational boats, if you can use it once a week or fortnight, then you’ll certainly prolong its life,” he says. “Even something as simple as a quick run will do it a world of good.”
Of course, not everyone is able to keep going during the coldest and darkest months of the year. Work, weather and a lack of holidays can get in the way, so unless you’re fortunate enough to head to Portland or some other gamefishing paradise, keeping your boat in working order by placing it in hibernation may be the best option.
Winterising a marine engine
The engine is the component of your boat that is arguably most at risk of deterioration over winter. After all, not only does it contain many moving and (often delicate) parts, it is also routinely subjected to salt water immersion and high temperatures. However, winterising can mean different things to different people, as Nick explains.
“It really depends on how in-depth you’re getting into it,” he says. “For some people, a winterise is just running the boat up on fresh water, packing it up, isolating the batteries and giving everything a bit of a spray with CRC. They’ll do the basics and call that winterising.”
Nick concedes that, when it comes to maintaining his personal boat, the lengths he goes to are considerable. “Most people probably wouldn’t do all the individual things that I would do for my own boat,” he says — but then again, he is a professional marine mechanic.
For the rest of us, here are some basic steps to get you started for winterising a recreational marine engines.