Original post made by Mark Johnson(MarkJ) on November 12, 2004 this time of year alot of us have put up our boats for the winter or are going to soon unless you are lucky enough to live in some of the southern states. normally i put mine up by december and have rolled it out as early as mid febuary if the weather is mild. while the weather may not be the best to boat in , winter is the time i give my boat its yearly physical. that switch that you had to play with to get to work during the summer or that fuse that blew ocassionally. this is when i crawl under the dash and really check things out. ill unplug wires and clean wiring terminals and put a coat of antioxidant on them. next i'll go through and check the engine wiring harness to the controls to make sure the insulation hasnt been compromised and that it has no spots where its been rubbing from vibrations, bumps and bangs. next i'll check my lines and fuel tanks if they are accesible. if you have an aluminum fuel tank or fuel cell look for crevice corrosion or leaking fuel. these tanks last a along time IF they are properly installed. there is strict rules set forth by the coast guard regarding fuel tanks but you would be surprised how few boat manufacturers follow them and still place a coast guard approved plate on the boat. the number one thing to look for is tanls foamed in place. thats a big problem in alot of boats and causes premature tank failure through crevice corrosion. every year boats explode or catch on fire due to fuel or fuel vapor in bilges. now is a good time to install a bilge fan or bilge venting. next i check the plumbing. i take apart my bilge pumps and areator pumps and clean the trash out of them , check the impellers and manually turn the impeller shaft to check for ease of motion. one thing to consider on bilge pumps, most boats come with a bilge pump, often its cheap with a small output. take a 750 gph bilge pump, its rated to pump 12.5 gallons per minute in optimum conditions. this output is reduced significantly through the height the water has to be pumped to exit the hull and fittings such as elbows. it doesnt take much of a hole in a hull to leak 12.5 gallons a minute. the set up i prefer is 2 1500 gph bilge pumps. one being an automatic pump and the other being maunually switched and both wired to the cranking battery. bilge pumps draw huge amounts of battery amps when pumping and here again they draw more the higher they have to pump the water. atleast wired to the cranking battery the outboard alternator can assist in keeping the amps up in the battery. so with an available 3000 gph pumping capacity you bring yourself up to the capability of pumping up to 50 gallons a minute in optimum conditions. that can mean alot if you get holed with a log 4 or 5 miles from a ramp. next i replace my anchor lines and stow the old line for emergencies on the boat. i also keep one of the portable battery jumper packs on my boat for emergencies and i remove it for the winter for charging. that thing is a life saver if you have ever tried to pull start a large outboard. probally one of my better investments for a boat. i'll go through my emergency pack and check flares and restock the first aid kit along with a close inspection of life vests. the last thing i do is crawl under my trailer and look over every inch of the hull for blisters in the gel coat or cracks and then move on to removing the trailer wheels checking the tire wear and repacking or replacing bearings or cracked hubs. next i move on to inspecting the trailer wiring for shorts or cracked insulation , and checking the lights for leaks and blown bulbs. i hope this helps , i know i learned early on that if something dont work when you need it to it will be on a boat. i finally got tired of spending my fishing time rigging something to work while on the water. i actually enjoy the yearly boat physical since i'm not fishing and i can pull the boat into the shop and put on some george jones tunes on a saturday and just tinker on one the greatest passions of my life , boats.