It's October...time to think about winterizing your boat. Rule of thumb in Missouri--winterize no later than Halloween. But, right before Halloween, in September and October, is some of the best boating. The summer crowd is gone; they've buttoned up their cabins and winterized their boats. So, this is the ideal time to see the fall foliage and to have the water all to yourself. If you can, take some time to enjoy the last of the boating season.
Now, after the final hooray, it is time to winterize. A lot of people take their boats out of the water and store them in dry storage facilities. My boat sits on a lift so I boat until the first sign of cold weather. I remember a year past when I was stretching the boating season until the last possible day when a quick cold freeze came through. I was in a panic...I had to drive 1 1/2 hours to my slip and winterize that day. At that time my boat was a 1982 IMP with a 350 cubic inch engine...easy to drain the water and winterize. I was messing around with my out-drive (This IMP did not have a power outdrive) when, in a flash, the outdrive dropped on the center fiberglass pontoon of my lift. The drop gouged a hole in the pontoon and air was hissing out. Now I was really in trouble. The only thing to do was to go to the nearest hardware store, buy a fiberglass patch and resin, and fix the hole. Let me remind you, the weather was cold. Not only did I have to buy the patch, I had to buy a hair dryer to dry the patch quickly. I pumped the lift up and put a board across the width of the slip under the lift arm to keep the lift from sinking. I patched the hole and sat there with the hair dryer drying the resin. After more than an hour of waving the hairdryer over the sticky resin, the resin finally dried enough for the pontoon to hold air. I finished my winterizing task and left for home tired and cold to await April 1 and a new year of boating.
Boat lifts are amazing. A small electiric motor about the size of a vacuum sweep can pump up almost any weight boat. and keeps your boat out of the water with little effort. Just make sure you don't punch a hole in cold weather.