As the spring season emerges and temperatures begin to rise, Colorado Parks and Wildlife suggests now is the time to properly de-winterize boats to make sure they’re functional.
Many state parks again open for boating between now and April 1.
Navajo State Park, headquartered near Arboles, is open year-round for boating. However, right now the boat ramp is under construction. A park spokeswoman said Wednesday that the ramp is expected to be ready the second week of April. In the meantime, boaters can use one of two ramps in New Mexico.
Wherever they’re put in, boats must be inspected for invasive zebra or quagga mussels.
“When nice weekends start popping up, be ready to take advantage,” said Kris Wahlers, Parks and Wildlife boat program manager. “Instead of using a nice weekend to get the boat ready or worse, get to the lake before finding out you have a problem, get it ready now.”
Parks and Wildlife recommends taking these steps:
First, try to drain out any water that may have found its way into your boat during the winter. This will help avoid the accumulation of mold, rust and any potential damage to components as temperatures rise.
With water muffs properly installed and working, start your boat at home to make sure it runs. It’s a lot less embarrassing to have a boat not start in the driveway than on a crowded dock. Keep the water flowing and don’t let it run long or overheating may result.
Check the battery to see if it can still hold a charge. This can be done by taking a conventional car battery charger and checking if the battery holds 100 percent of the charge given. If the battery has a full charge and the motor still won’t turn on, replace any fuses that may have broken during the winter.
Check fuel lines for cracks/leaks or signs of rodents chewing on them; make sure hoses are connected; make sure fittings and connections are tight; check that plugs are in good shape and installed.
Sign up for a boating safety class. Parks and Wildlife hosts nearly 100 classes throughout the state from April-September, not to mention the online options for boaters over 15. Nearly 90 percent of boat operators involved in an accident last year had no boating safety education, and that included the people who “have been boating all my life.”
Check to see if boating safety equipment is still serviceable. Safety items required include personal flotation devices, a sound making device, fire extinguisher, navigation lights and 2015 boat registration with visible CL numbers.
When you do get on the water for the first time, keep an eye on the temperature of your engine. Sometimes after sitting in winter storage, water pump impellers can fail and lead to a costly and potentially dangerous engine overheat.
If you have any questions, Parks and Wildlife urges, call your local boat factory authorized center for advice.
“You can use these steps as a precaution to check your boat and lower the chances of there being any serious problems with your boat this boating season,” Wahlers said.
To learn about 2015 boating regulations and registration visit http://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/boat.aspx.