You’re putting the boat away for winter. So what half-truth, wive’s tale, or tall story have you heard about winterizing a recreational boat? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) helps to set the record straight.
Ethanol (E10) fuel and engines: If a boat has a built-in gas tank, it’s recommended to leave the tank as full as possible over the winter with a smidgen of room for fuel expansion.
TRUE: Leaving the tank nearly full limits the amount of moisture that can potentially condense inside on the tank’s walls as outside temperatures fluctuate, preventing phase separation of ethanol (E10) fuel. Note one caveat: If your boat is stored in a rack system or indoor storage, check with the marina. They may require you to empty the tank to minimize the risk of fire.
TIP: Never plug a fuel vent. Ever.
Ethanol and phase separation: Come springtime, any phase-separated gasoline in the tank can be fixed by adding a fuel stabilizer or additive.
FALSE: Once gasoline phase separates, that’s it. Kaput. End of story. The only solution is to have a pro remove the contaminated fuel and water mixture and start anew -- a difficult, hazardous and costly task for boats with built-in fuel tanks. However, it’s critical to use a fuel stabilizer each fall to help keep fuel fresh over the winter, keep corrosion at bay and to help prevent the onset of phase separation.
TIP: Put the stabilizer in before you nearly fill the tank for its long winter nap. This will allow stabilizer to fully course through the fuel system as you run the engine when filling with anti-freeze.
Freeze damage: Because it’s cold up there, BoatUS insurance claims for engine block freezing come from northern climates.
FALSE: While there are quite a few claims from the colder climates, many boat insurance freeze damage claims also come from southern, temperate states hit by an unexpected freeze or when space heaters fail due to sudden storm power loss. In the northern climes, storm power outages also are to blame for engine block freeze related claims, however, both areas of the country have their fair share of winter freeze claims due to one reason: the failure to follow winterizing procedures.
TIP: Don’t let your buddy do the job – it’s a common refrain BoatUS claims staff hears every spring after a cracked block is discovered. Having your marina winterize your boat and systems may offer better protection if there is an issue come springtime. Another option is adding ice and freeze insurance to your boat insurance – most insurers do not charge much for it, but there are deadlines to purchase (BoatUS offers it for as little as $25 to its insured members until October 30).
Space heaters: It’s okay to “winterize” the boat by leaving a space heater running onboard.
FALSE: In addition to the sudden power outage problem, every winter BoatUS sees fires from heaters, plugs and cords, and from heaters that were left running on unattended boats. Unless you live in Hawaii or the Florida Keys, BoatUS recommends winterizing your engine if you will be laying up the boat for even a few weeks to lessen the chances of sudden freeze damage.
TIP: Save time and make winterizing easier by installing an engine flushing system -- typically a simple valve with a connection for a garden hose along with an anti-freeze pick-up hose/strainer -- on your engine.
“Some men would rather be photographed with their fish than with their wives.” Gwen Cooper and Evelyn Haas
“When you are on the river, ocean or in the woods, you are the closest to the truth you’ll ever get.” --- Jack Leonard
“May the holes in your net be no larger than the fish in it.” --- Irish blessing
“I go fishing not to find myself but to lose myself. ” Joseph Monniger
“I love fishing. You put that line in the water and you don’t know what’s on the other end. Your imagination is under there.” --- Robert Altman
“Fish are, of course, indispensable to the angler. They give him an excuse for fishing and justify the fly rod without which he would be a mere vagrant.” Sparse Grey Hackle
Havana, Ill., is Ground Zero for the Asian carp invasion, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. On the Illinois River, it’s about 200 miles south of Lake Michigan and 120 miles north of the Mississippi.
“You find more carp per acre, per mile of river, tan nearly anyplace else in the world,” says Kevin Irons, DNR’s Asian carp program director.
If you doubt that, check out this video.
Based on electrofishing surveys, bighead and silver carp now account for about 60 percent of the fish biomass in that stretch of the river. That means native species have declined dramatically because the exotics outcompete them for food and habitat.
And peaceful boat rides are a thing of the past because of silver carp, which go airborne when startled.
“People have been hit and seriously injured,” says DNR’s Matt O’Hara. “I know there have been some cases of broken noses and jaws.
“Pretty distressing when you come out here and you’re looking for native fish, and all you see is invasive Asian carp,” he adds.
Minnesota is proposing to increase bass fishing opportunities.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to open the season statewide two weeks earlier, at the same time that the walleye season begins. Those two weeks would be for catch-and-release only, except in the northeast, where the bass season already opens two weeks before the rest of the state.
Additionally, anglers would be allowed to keep smallmouth bass during the fall in the northeast. At present, all smallmouths must be released from mid September through February.
Warming winters and expanding bass populations are primary reasons for the changes. Traditionally, the opener was delayed to protect spawning bass, even though largemouth and smallmouth bass account for just 5 percent of fish caught and kept.
“When you look at the facts, we have no recruitment issues with bass. Our electrofishing numbers are extremely high, and the changes will have no impact on that,” said Eric Altena, a DNR fisheries supervisor and member of the Technical Bass Committee.
“We are way above recruitment in most parts of the state, and most waters have an abundance of bass.”
Bass tournaments, however, would not be allowed during the catch-and-release season. Under the proposal, all bass caught until Saturday of Memorial Day weekend must be released immediately.
“The proposal probably could have gone even more liberal, but there wasn’t as much support for more liberal framework,” said Henry Drewes, regional fisheries manager. “But we can do this and still protect the (bass) population statewide.”
Following a public-comment period, the proposals will be reviewed by DNR staff before a final decision is made. If approved, the regulations will go into effect for the 2015 fishing season.