Now is the perfect time to de-winterize the boat
Mar 23,2009 00:00 by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources
OREGON -- When the days get a little longer, that’s the signal to dust off the cob webs and de-winterize your boat.  The weather is about to take a turn from gray to sunny and it’s a great feeling to have your boat and gear prepared for the first opportunity.  The Oregon State Marine Board offers some reminders and suggestions for getting your boat ready for the first excursion this season.

First, make sure you have your boater education card.  “The Mandatory Education Program is officially phased-in, which means all boaters who operate a motorboat over 10 horse power will need to take a boating safety course and carry their boater education card with them out on the water,” says Ashley Massey, Public Affairs Specialist for the Marine Board.  “Youth ranging from 12 to 15 years of age will need a card to operate a boat on their own, if the motor is under 10 hp.  If the boat is over 10 hp, the youth must be supervised directly by a card-holding adult (16 or older).  Teenagers need to be 16 or older and have their boater education card to operate a personal watercraft (PWC).  Youth can operate a PWC if being directly supervised by a card-holding adult over 18.”  For more information about mandatory education, Massey says you can log onto the state web site to learn more about the program.
Second, make sure your boat registration is current.  “Renewal reminders were mailed to boaters in early March.  The renewal notification has a special identification number on it allowing boaters to renew their registration online.  It’s simple and there’s no online processing fee.  The best part is you can print a temporary permit after ordering online, so you can go boating right away,”   Massey says.  “For folks new to boating or who didn’t renew for a few years, you can contact the Marine Board and speak with a registration specialist who can help you or simply send in your payment to us.  The cost for registering your boat is a flat, $3 per foot fee, rounded up to the nearest foot.  So for most boaters, the cost is close to a night at the movies, except boat registrations are good for two calendar years,” Massey adds.
Third, make sure your boat is good shape before you get to the water.  “Prepare ahead of time to ensure a stress-free excursion.  There are some excellent de-winterizing, do-it-yourself instructions online, that give details about how to take care of the exterior, interior, motor and trailer.  Mercury Mariner has detailed information about engine maintenance and blended fuels,” says Massey.  For the not-so-mechanically inclined, many marine centers and boat dealers can de-winterize your boat for you.
Finally, be sure to check your equipment.  “Safety is so important,” Massey emphatically states.  “Make sure your life jackets are in good condition (no mold, tears, etc.) and that there are enough to properly fit everyone on board.  Also be sure to have fire extinguishers, a sound producing device, and visual distress signals.  If you are going out for fish, be sure to have a good anchor with plenty of line and a buoy.  Another reminder is to anchor from the bow, not the stern.  We lost three boaters last season who anchored from the stern, which will swamp the boat.”
The Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons conduct free vessel safety checks around the state and alert the boater if any safety equipment is needed.
“One last reminder is to watch the weather and be ready to head in if the wind picks up.  There’s also a lot of debris in the water, so keep a sharp lookout any hazards.”
Boaters can get all this information and more by visiting or calling 503-378-8587.  Registration payments can be mailed to OSMB, P.O. Box 14145, Salem, OR 97309.