Getting boats ready for use takes preparation, planning

Tools

by Lane Kimble

MILWAUKEE -- Skipper Bud's Boat Service Manager Pete Deri spent most of the last six months working inside.

"It's a crazy season, but you do look forward to it," Deri said.

Ice lingered on the rivers around Milwaukee and Lake Michigan. Some inland lakes still have ice on them.  That's backed up Deri's job of getting boats ready for the season.

"We have boats on top of boats a little bit here," Deri said.

Deri runs a 40-point safety check on the nearly 250 in storage, something he recommends every boater do.

"Make sure it's running, the battery's charged, connected, terminals are clean and covered up  according to the safety rules," Deri said.  "Make sure you've done all your regular maintenance, oil changes, change the gear lube in the lower unit."

One of the main culprits is the water pump -- a part Deri says you should replace every other year.

"Keep small problems small," Deri said.  "They're not going to go away."

Once your boat's sea-worthy though, your job is far from over.  UW SeaGrant Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist Tim Campbell travels the state trying to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. 

"We still have a lot left to fight for here in Wisconsin and protect," Campbell said.  The DNR spent $750,000 fighting the red swamp crayfish in a pond in Germantown -- a problem Campbell knows you can help avoid.

"Inspect their boat for aquatic vegetation, mud, animals," Campbell said.  "They should remove the vegetation and  then dry the boat as long as possible."

Simple steps all boaters should do to keep the season enjoyable.

"Just have fun," Deri said.  "Have fun boating.  That's what it's supposed to be."

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