Q: Dear Mick, we own a 1985 Sea Ray 250 kept on Lake Powell. We have not used the boat for many seasons now and want to get back in the water this summer. It was winterized before going into dry storage. What should be done to ensure safety and reliablility after being in storage that long?
Larry and Diana DiGuglielmo Lake Powell, Arizona
A: First, make sure there is no water in the fuel. If you boated anywhere but in your dry desert climate, I would recommend disposing properly of the old fuel. There are kits/products you can purchase that allow you to sample the fuel. (Sar-Gel paste is one, spatco.com.) You can also send a siphon to the bottom of the tank, since gas floats on water. Access the fuel tank interior by removing the fuel-gauge sending unit. If water is found, siphon it out. Carry extra water-separating fuel-filter elements and check your fuel filter’s drain bowl regularly. Change the element as needed.
Replace the spark plugs, belts and all filters. Lubricate all service points. Change the engine oil and drive-gear oil, and charge the batteries. Start the engine. Make sure the throttle and shift operate smoothly before you head out on the lake.
Go boating, being extra attentive to the engine. I recommend an EPIRB or other rescue beacon when boating in remote locations like Lake Powell. Be safe and enjoy.