Pre-Season Boat Maintenance
The days are getting longer, which means it’s time to get your Veranda out of storage and water ready. Hello there, I’m Tommy Sanders, the host of the Veranda Luxury Pontoons online owner’s manual. This particular video segment covers 12 important steps for pre-season boat maintenance for your Veranda, as approved by Yamaha. We will cover everything from inspecting your battery, fuel lines, spark plugs, polishing and waxing your Veranda to inspecting your trailer. If followed, these maintenance steps will help ensure a safe and memorable boating season. We always recommend using one of our authorized dealers however Yamaha states that self-maintenance will not affect the Yamaha warranty, provided it’s done properly and using the proper supplies. Yamaha recommends that all Yamaha outboard owners (especially DIYers) download and use the MyYamahaOutboards app to record and track their maintenance. Learn more at www.yamahaoutboards.com/myyamahaoutboards. Another helpful tip is to always keep a record of your receipts for the products purchased to perform DIY maintenance if you choose to do so. We highly recommend consulting your local authorized Veranda Luxury Pontoons dealer who has certified Yamaha technicians on staff to provide post-season boat maintenance service.
Inspect the Battery
Step one is to inspect your battery. There are several different types of marine batteries on the market, but Yamaha recommends using flooded lead acid or AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) only. Your authorized Veranda Luxury Pontoons dealer installs the batteries when they prep the boat after receiving the shipment. The battery life for a boat is roughly five years. It is important to make certain that your battery held up well during the winter months. Start by topping off the battery with fresh, distilled water if it needs it, then give it a good thorough charge. Check the charge with a battery tester and if the battery still holds a strong charge, you’ll be in great shape. If not, you may want to get your authorized dealer to inspect your battery. If you have time, look for a good sale, and get a good quality battery. If the battery is in good shape, it’s still a good idea to scrub the battery clean of dirt or rust; anything really that can build up on it. Next, clean the terminal post connections. Make sure you remove the terminals and wires from the battery posts first! Finally, carefully reattach any wires or cables that were removed. Coat terminals with lithium grease to protect them further from corrosion. For additional instruction please refer to the Electrical System page on Yamaha Outboard’s Maintenance Matters.
Check for Timing Belt
The second step in pre-season boat maintenance is to check the timing belt. Where is the belt located and how do you inspect it? Good questions! The timing belt is located under your Yamaha motor’s cowling on the top of the engine. The cowling on larger motors is heavy and fragile, so it may take two people to remove. The belt on your outboard should not have a lot of “give,” meaning that if you press down on it or give it any pressure, it should hold tight. Your Yamaha service manual states that the maximum the belt can stay on the engines is 5 years or 1,000 hours, whichever comes first. Each time a motor comes in for a service interval, the technician should inspect the timing belt and pulleys for premature wear, which is evident by belt dust around the pulleys of the timing belt. If the timing belt goes, it will cause significant, costly damage to your motor. We highly recommend having your local authorized Veranda Luxury Pontoons dealer check or replace these for you.
Inspect the Cooling System
Step three is to inspect the cooling system. Your outboard cools via the water in which it sits. No matter the Veranda model engine type, water will be pulled through the motor by a water pump into the cooling system. The impeller is located inside the lower unit of your motor which can be accessed by removing your prop, anode and outdrive. Check the raw water impeller’s condition before you start the engine this season. Any indication of wear means it should be replaced. On a related note, it is important to flush the motors after each use with fresh water, not lake water, especially for those who boat in saltwater environments. This will wash the saltwater out of the motor and in the case of fresh water motors, will wash out any freshwater debris.
Test and Check on Your Electronics
The fourth step in pre-season boat maintenance is testing and checking your electronics. Every switch, knob, button, and meter needs to be tested and checked before you even think about sailing away on your boat after de-winterization. Flip every switch on the helm and in the cabins. Don’t skip a single one! The same electrical system connects everything, so keep an eye out for any circuit on your Veranda. In the event you have any questions, refer to our Online Owner’s Manual for any electrical tips that you may need further information on, or contact your local authorized Veranda Luxury Pontoons dealer.
Inspect All Fuel Lines and Fluid Levels
Next, you will need to inspect all fuel lines and fluid levels on your Veranda. Colder weather can be very difficult on your boat’s hoses, including fuel lines. You need to be sure that you do a thorough and detailed inspection of these fuel lines and other hoses. Is your fuel filter clean and clear? If it is great! If not, get it replaced. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll want to make sure all fluids are filled to their appropriate level to prevent a loss of fuel or coolant when out on the water. If your engine is not a two-cycle outboard, you should have replaced the engine oil when you winterized. If not, it should be done before this season. In either case, always check the oil level before starting the engine the first time for the season. Not only could low fluid levels cause problems but the wear and tear on these systems will cost a lot of money in the future if not maintained properly!
Check on the Distributor and Spark Plugs
The sixth step in pre-season boat maintenance involves checking the distributor and spark plugs. Cleaning the distributor on your boat is very important. When a distributor is neglected, it can corrode and cause poor engine performance and even stop it from running. Instead, you’ll want to remove the distributor cap and make sure it is nice and clean. If the contacts are corroded, replace the cap. When you are done with that, make sure all spark plugs are in good condition and tight. If it has not been done recently, a full tune-up with new spark plugs and even new wires is always a good idea.
Replace Your Zinc Anode(s)
Next, you will want to replace your zinc anodes if you have one. If you replaced the boat’s zinc anodes when you winterized, you are good to go. These are typically located on the underwater portion of an outboard motor, or on the propeller shaft of inboard boats; sometimes on the hull itself. Zinc anodes are important because they prevent galvanic corrosion of metals on your boat and engine that occur in a marine environment, especially saltwater. They are also called “sacrificial zincs” because they are designed to corrode before steel and other metals. That means they are designed to dissolve and they need to be replaced regularly. Generally, if the zinc has lost more than half of its original material, it should be replaced.
Watch Out for Animal Hibernation
The eighth phase of pre-season boat maintenance concerns watching out for animals hibernation while your pontoon sat in storage. Many people don’t consider that insects and arachnids may want to take shelter in their warm, covered boats. Mice, in particular, have been known to gnaw into seating and make a warm nest inside there during the winter months. Don’t let this be you. Make sure you NEVER have food left in the boat over the off-season to reduce rodent infestation. Also, check all nooks and crannies for any bugs or spiders that may have taken refuge in your boat. If you find some unwanted critters, try using humane or non-toxic chemicals or traps that will remove them from your boat and send them on their way.
Check the Propeller
Next, you will want to check your propeller. While you’ve got the boat out of the water, let’s check the condition of the propeller. Only in transit and when stored on-shore is your propeller out of the water. Now is a good time to check for dents, corrosion, or any loose or damaged parts. You’ll also want to make sure that everything is in great shape and that nothing has been stuck or tangled between the prop and the spindle, such as fishing line, or the boat bottom that you missed when winterized. If you find that the propeller is damaged for some reason, you should remove it and have it repaired or even replace it, depending on the damage, by a local authorized Veranda Luxury Pontoons dealer who has Yamaha certified technicians on staff. For additional instruction please refer to the Propeller Solutions page on Yamaha Outboard’s Maintenance Matters.
The tenth step in pre-season boat maintenance involves some deep cleaning. You will want to clean the boat thoroughly before you let your friends, family, and pets onto your vessel. Boats get wet. That’s standard. But that also means that mold and mildew can build up on boats and vessels very easily if left unchecked. Make sure you are thoroughly cleaning any mold or mildewed areas of your boat. Vacuum all storage spaces and seating. For additional instruction please refer to the External Appearance page on Yamaha Outboard’s Maintenance Matters.
Polish and Wax
Many boat owners take a lot of pride in their boat and work very hard to keep it looking fantastic all year round. If you’re one of those, you may want to polish and wax your boat. Polishing the aluminum logs and waxing panels can help prevent water spots, but it is not something that we recommend. It is really up to you, the consumer. We do not recommend waxing the powder-coated rails on your fence. It is not like a painted surface and will leave residue in the small textures of the powder coat. Refer to the Post-Season Boat Maintenance video in the owner’s manual for additional information about cleaning-polishing and waxing your Veranda. We do not recommend waxing the powder-coated rails on your fence. It is not like a painted surface and will leave residue in the small textures of the powder coat. Supporting your boat in every way will keep you from having to repair or replace broken items before it should be necessary to ensure a lifetime of enjoyment. Use a power washer on a light setting to get any dirt or mildew off your boat that may have built up over the off-season. Once done and dried, apply cleaner, buff, and apply products such as Shark Hide to keep it fresh and taken care of!
Inspect the Trailer
The final step in pre-season boat maintenance involves inspecting your BackTrack Trailer. Just like your boat, the trailer is one of the most important things you’ll be using all summer. You want to make sure your tires and wires are all up to the standard code. Check the air pressure in your tires before using your trailer, and if one is flat or damaged, it’s time to replace it. You don’t want tire problems on the road. You are legally required to have working turn signals on your boat’s trailer. Ensure all lights are working, and ask a family member or friend to keep an eye on them while you test your signals and brakes. Cold winter months are tough on brake bulbs, so care and caution are advised.
We hope you have found this pre-season boat maintenance segment of the Veranda Luxury Pontoons owner’s manual useful to ensure your investment is ready for the upcoming boating season and the lifetime of enjoyment that it will provide.