On Air: Boaters Should Make Winterizing, Storage Reservations Sooner Rather Than Later
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - News

Dave White, New York Sea Grant, Recreation and Tourism Specialist, P: 315-312- 3042, E: dgw9@cornell.edu

Oswego, NY, September 16, 2020 - New York Sea Grant (NYSG) Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist Dave White talks on Finger Lakes Radio about how even though boaters are still enjoying New York's great waters into the fall season, now is the time to contact marinas to make a reservation for winterizing services and storage. Options include indoor storage, lift storage under cover, and wrapping for outdoor storage.

White reminds motorized and non-motorized boaters alike that a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest or PFD (personal floatation device) must be available for every passenger onboard and passengers younger than 12 years old must be wearing one, and in New York State everyone aboard a recreational vessel must be wearing one from November 1 to May 1.

While COVID-19 persists, for-hire boat rental, charter fishing and boat tour operators may still request the series of six decals available free from New York Sea Grant to encourage COVID-19 prevention practices aboard their vessels this fall. Details are posted at www.nysgrecreation.org or request information by email to sgoswego@cornell.edu. Print-on-demand templates of the decals are posted at www.nyseagrant.org/forhire.

You can listen to White's full conversation on Finger Lakes Radio ...

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Established in 2000, the Finger Lakes Radio Group serves listeners and advertisers in the central Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Since then, the group has grown to a seven station cluster with studios and offices in Geneva, Auburn, Penn Yan and Canandaigua. Two of those stations (WGVA and WAUB) comprise Finger Lakes News Radio, a CBS Radio News affiliate offering breaking news in the region 24 hours a day.


Full Transcript:

[00:00:04] Good morning. It is 7:50 am on the Finger Lakes Morning News, and here we are in September.

[00:00:12] Hard to believe. And for those of you who are enjoying the lakes in this late summer and into the early fall on your boats or whatever watercraft you may own, believe it or not, it's time to start thinking about perhaps getting ready to get those watercraft ready for winter. And here to give us all the ins and outs of doing that is Dave White from New York Sea Grant. Dave, good morning. And like I said, it's hard to believe that already it's time to start thinking about stopping the boats and the and the jet skis and everything else for winter time.

[00:00:50] Good morning. Good morning. It is. But I have to start with this concept for folks, because I'm now a proponent of this. So as opposed to the official end of summer being Labor Day, I am now lobbying for the unofficial end of summer to be Columbus Day. We're getting an extra five or six weeks of summer. So really good topic. You talk about getting ready for winter and thinking back because we need to think about it now to make plans because it's going to be a busy fall put-away season. But let's keep thinking about keeping the boats out and keeping them on the water and having those great day-cations and stay-cations right here in the Finger Lakes area with our families. So I'm now a proponent that the unofficial end of summer is Columbus Day.

[00:01:40] Well, let's hope so, because we've already had snow out west. And we know every once in a while we get snow early here in the Finger Lakes area. So we'll hope that Columbus Day is even early. And as I said, maybe we can even stretch it out to Thanksgiving. Who knows? But talk about the importance of properly storing your boat. Not being a boater, I would suspect that a lot of that is important, too, because of the issue of the harmful algal blooms and the transferring of weeds from one body of water to another. The clean and drain concept is really important when you are getting ready to put the boat away for the winter season.

[00:02:28] It really is. All of that comes into play. And that's where it's really important now for folks to be thinking about it, because the boating business, as we both know this year, a lot of folks have come into the family of boating and we want to welcome them in. And a lot of those new boaters now really need to think about what they're going to do with their boat over winter. Are they going to be a DIY boater and winterize themselves or are they going to really contact one of our great local boat service and marina operations to say, hey, I need help with my winterization? 

[00:03:00] I think a lot of folks need to remember if you're in a development that has a HOA, a lot of those restrict storing boats on site. So you may need to have a storage space for it, either with a Marine facility on site, at a marina with shrink-wrap or a storage unit area that a lot of times will have areas that you can store boats and RVs. But now is the time to make plans for that because boating has just blossomed here in the Finger Lakes area. So, regardless of when you're going to put your boat away, and we've kidded about the Columbus Day thing, regardless of when you need to make those plans now, because a lot of places are filling up. If you're going to use a local facility to do that. If you're a DIY new boater or been in the boating business a long time, it's really about prepping for spring is how I like to look at it. Because when spring comes, you want to have your boat ready to go. It's been winterized well, you've gotten all the water out. You've winterized your engine, be it an outward/inboard, outboard/inboard, whatever it might be, so that come spring, you're ready to go and you don't have damage that's occurred over the winter. Because of our winters. you can have a lot of mildew damage. You can have a lot of engine damage if you're not properly prepared.

[00:04:15] And of course, the bigger the boat, the bigger the problems.

[00:04:19] Absolutely. And you get a lot of boaters  that like to do this: The nice thing with the Internet, you can now go online and watch videos for do-it-yourself-ers. And definitely check your manufacturer's instructions on winterizing your engine. All engine manufacturers are a little different. So those are the kinds of things you want to check, because also if you're a DIY and you don't do it correctly, it's not going to be covered by either insurance or other things, though. And I will personally say to you: My boat. I have that winterized by a facility since I bought it back in the 80s. In one year, they did not winterize it properly. They had an individual that left a couple of steps out. And they had to replace the engine in my boat because they had done it, so there's also that side that says if you're not really sure about the DIY, you doing it with the local facility, they guarantee their work that come spring, when you turn the key, it's going to start and have been protected for the winter. So you have to balance all of that out because a boat is a major investment as well. I also like to remind people, make sure you're getting all of the water out of your kayak, your canoe, because those have a lot of little hiding spots. So make sure you're sponging the water out, disposing of it properly to make sure you're not going to have ice damage to your paddle craft over winter when that water freezes in and possibly cracks something or develops a leak.

[00:05:49] It doesn't take much, that is for certain. For those who are new to boating this year and maybe prepping their winterization for the first time, is there a central online area where they can get information or are they pretty much on their own trying to find, as you say, a service area or a boat shop that will do it for them both?

[00:06:17] I mean, there's a lot of the server shops, they're open. They're anxious to help you out. They want to be a partner with you. But if you do want to do a DIY, there are several good videos on YouTube. Again, you want to make sure if you're going to go in that direction, that you really focus on the manufacturer of your specific engine or boat type to make sure you're covering all of the bases. The two websites I sent everybody because they're just great are Boat US and Discover Boating. Both of them have wonderful resources on winterizing your boat. And again, they'll go right down through the checklist. There's some great checklists on both of them. So the checklist that you get off, those will remind you: Pull the plug. Making sure it's drained. Making sure you taking care of any invasive species. You don't want to have them overwintering because again, if you're not opening your boat until, say, next May and you have some invasive species that have grown over the winter and into fall because we still have warm enough weather. So you're absolutely right. The invasive species issue comes in as well to make sure winterizing well, we'll also protect your boat from any impact of any of our invasive species over the winter that may cause damage as well. So great opportunity for the DIY folks, but there's a lot of resources out there that can help them. But be very thorough when you're doing well.

[00:07:44] Great information, as always, Dave, and we appreciate it. And hopefully you'll get a lot more use out of your watercraft between now and the time the first snow falls. And we appreciate it, as always, and hope to talk to you again soon.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, University at Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.

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