By SCOT MAGNISH
Itís been a hazy, crazy summer of waterskiing and fishing - but autumn is fast approaching, and with it, the dreaded boat storage ordeal.
It might be tempting to damn the torpedoes and leave the vessel marooned on shore until next spring, but Rob Egan of Brooklin Cycle says youíre taking your chances if you do.
Water left in a boat motor will almost certainly destroy its engine - and Egan warns water left in hulls over the winter can reduce your pride and joy to scrap in a matter of months.
"Itís the old stitch in time adage," Egan says. "A little preventative maintenance now can save you a world of trouble later."
Even if youíve got a boat house, there are a few basic steps you must take to ensure your vessel continues to look and performs like it does right now.
Just as important as proper motor storage is proper hull storage, Egan continues - and its just as important regardless of whether the boat is wood, fiberglass or aluminum.
"You want it drained and dry, dry, dry before you leave it for the winter," he says.
All boats should have their plugs removed and any water drained before theyíre stored. Wooden boats should be kept off the ground and any vessel small enough to be flipped or placed upright against a building should be. Of course, thatís not always possible - and when it isnít, Egan says the best alternative is to cover the vessel with a tarp.
"You want to build a tee-pee like structure in the middle to make sure snow and ice doesnít pool in the middle," he says. "If you end up with water inside the boat, it will freeze and expand and rip your boat apart."
Larger boats with a head or plumbing of any kind should have water drained and then non-toxic antifreeze pumped through their systems. And very large boats with inboard motors should be stored by a marina, he advises.
"Big boats with V-8 engines and the like have all kinds of orifices that have to be drained separately," Egan says. "Even guys who know what theyíre doing can miss things - sediment can trap water inside manifolds and the wrong mix of antifreeze and water can do as much damage as plain water can."
Stored properly, Egan says your boat and engine will provide years of trouble-free fun. Ignored, he warns, and your investment could be worthless in a matter of months.
"The best advice I can give someone is this: When in doubt, ask a professional," he says, inviting CottageLink Magazine readers with technical questions to post them at brooklincycle.com.
"We should be able to help you."
Scot Magnish is a Toronto-based writer who hopes to own his own cottage one day