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A few tips to make boating life a little easier

By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON - | Aug 13, 2021

Capt. George Tunison

Need a break from the broiling sun? Too hot to fish? We know that rust never sleeps and with boats that spend their time around salt water, there’s always work to be done.

Here are some tips to make boating life easier.

Check all batteries to see if the water levels are low due to summer evaporation or overcharging. Fill with distilled water only and do not over-fill. Batteries aren’t cheap – maintain them or they fail.

Check, clean or replace any corroded connections now before they cause a breakdown at sea.

For boats stored long term on lifts or trailers — to help combat mold issues on the interior of your stored boat, insert half a dishtowel-sized rag into your drain plug hole letting the other half hang freely. The towel acts as a wick drawing moisture out of the transom area to the outside where it’s evaporated. Most drain plugs are slightly above the very bottom of the hull or sump usually trapping an inch or more of water. This trapped water in a closed hull baking in 95 degree Florida sunshine creates a hot and steamy environment in the hull, turning it into a black mold factory.

Open up hatches in both front and back to create air flow through the hull. Tilt the trailer to drain water and use the wick rag to evaporate residual water.

While you’re back there, spend an extra 10 minutes and replace that fuel/water separating filter. This simple and cheap home maintenance chore can save you hundreds of dollars in shop repair bills and down time. Fifty percent of all local engine breakdowns and shop visits are due to fuel and corrosion issues caused when ethanol and water moisture create sludge-like conditions in the bottom of your fuel tank, then eventually pumped through your motor, clogging up fine passageways.

Hard starting and rough running are tell-tale signs of ethanol related fuel issues.

To combat this problem keep your tank(s) as full as you can. Buy ethanol-free fuel when possible. Be sure to always use a fuel additive or conditioner, especially in fuels containing ethanol. Replace the water separating filter on a regular basis. Yamaha recommends replacing this filter after every 50 hours of run time. Mark the change-out date and engine hours on the new filter then rub a coating of motor oil on the filter’s rubber gasket before screwing it back on. Remember to not over-tighten the filter. Snug by hand only, then inspect for leaks after starting.

Boats that sit for long periods with partially filled and untreated fuel tanks are asking for big trouble. It’s cheaper to have your tank professionally pumped out and cleaned and all filters replaced, if you have a bad contamination problem.

Remove all props and check for seal damage caused by discarded fishing line. Milky colored oil in the lower unit indicates seal failure.

As of this writing, the current Corp of Engineers lake management plan “CC” still calls for the majority of Lake Okeechobee toxic water summer releases to be pumped westward down the Caloosahatchee which is great news for the St. Lucie and very bad news for us. The Corps will finalize its plan in November which will then be in effect for the next 10 years.

If there was ever a time to make your opinion known it’s now, as we are running out of time to alter this lopsided “management plan,” which has the potential to greatly harm our environment, our economy and the health and well-being of the citizens of SW Florida.

Having clean uncontaminated water will certainly be one of mankind’s greatest future challenges. Scientists now report that one out of every four California sea lions tested has cancer issues. A recent underwater discovery of over 500,000 barrels of leaking DDT products, dumped 10 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, may be responsible.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. You can contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com.