RHINELANDER - Kevin O'Rourke knows how to prepare boats for winter. He's been doing it for decades. It doesn't matter if the boat is used a lot or a little, his process doesn't change.
"Sometimes not using [the boat] is worse," said O'Rourke, a boat technician at Shoeder's RV and Marine in Rhinelander. "You're tied to a dock and there are temperature differentials cause condensation build-up."
Eliminating condensation is O'Rourke's goal for every boat he winterizes. This starts with draining engine and gear oil.
"If it [has] water in it it would be milky, or have bubbles," said O'Rourke.
O'Rourke recommends filling up the boat's gas tank before winter. It gives less space for moisture to build up. He also adds a product called stabilizer.
"Otherwise, fuel does terrible things like separate out and turn into sludge and varnish," said O'Rourke. "You can see the difference between the clear fuel and the bad, old fuel down there."
O'Rourke said there are many differences from boat to boat. For example, an inboard motor uses lake water instead of antifreeze for engine cooling.
"So it absolutely has to be drained at the end of the season because there's just fresh water in there and it will freeze and crack your engine," said O'Rourke.
O'Rourke will winterize hundreds of boats this Fall. For people doing it at home, he can't stress enough how important it is to find every way water could get in, no matter how small.
"Just check the little yellow washer on [the drain plug] to make sure it's in good shape, because that's just another place that water can get in," said O'Rourke.
O'Rourke also said its important to keep the decks of boats moisture-free too, or else you might find mold in the Spring.