Katlynn Fall Newsletter 2016


This fall, I’m reaching into my old news letter file from the fall of 2006. This information was relevant then and just as important now.

At the start of each season, I’m asked to write a newsletter article and I always try to impart a little helpful knowledge to make your run into the new season a little easier. As I try to come up with a worthy subject I keep hearing that little voice in my head that says that what I really need to do is to remind everyone of all those important items that are related to a successful haul-out season. For those “old” customers, some of this may sound familiar. For those new customers, I hope some of this is new information and is helpful.

Let me begin by saying that as with every fall, you can expect to experience extreme changes in the weather, and with that I mean sudden and strong winds that come blasting off the lake. Some falls are worst than other and you don’t want to be the poster child and pay the price of unnecessary damage to your vessel from extreme weather. Let me remind you once again to be sure and secure your boat with adequate dock lines in both number and size. This is one time when bigger and more is better. With any luck, we can make it thru this season with normal elective maintenance and no storm related repairs.

As winter approaches, please don’t forget to secure your dingy and dock boxes. You are welcome to store your dingy on one of our dingy racks, just be sure and tie it down. Dock boxes require some additional care. Just because you’ve jammed it with every conceivable extra you own, I’m telling you right now that it won’t survive the winter winds. At the very least it should be bolted to the break wall and then trussed up like a Christmas package. The wind has the ability to completely disassemble these boxes and leave just the bolted bottom. The contents will be scattered across the frozen bay and be lost forever. If you are unable to remove your box or secure it, please let me know and I will arrange for removal and storage of said box for a nominal fee. An added item: This fall we hope to complete some maintenance work on “K” dock and are asking that all, tables, storage boxes and grills be removed at the end of the season so that we can complete our work. Please be sure and write name on each item so as to be able to identify all property. Your cooperation would be appreciated.

Fall Maintenance

Every fall customers come to me with their engine service concerns as pertaining to winter storage, ie…should I change my oil now or in the spring, should I pull my engine drain plugs, should I top off my fuel tanks, etc. My answers to all these questions are yes, no and maybe. I say this because there are different schools of thought pertaining to each question.

Engine oil for instance…I have a good friend who happens to be a well respected engine mechanic in the region who tells me that some engine institute has done a study wherein they have determined that engine oil is better changed in the spring because engines tend to develop a certain amount of water condensation over the winter. If one were to change his oil in the fall, he would be starting out the next season with water contaminated oil. As for myself, I have always thought that the appropriate time for this engine service was at the end of the season. Oil is the life blood of your engine and the more you change it the better. It just seems that residual moisture and engine acids left unattended in the crankcase of the engine over the winter can pit bearings, cylinders, and other vital engine parts. Most engine manufactures recommend an oil change every 50-100 hours of engine use. I recommend that you do it at least once a season. This goes for the fuel filters and fuel/water separators. And don’t forget the transmission usually has its own lubrication supply. I know of no better or cheaper engine insurance than a little oil maintenance. For those interested in knowing a little more about what is happening with your engine, I have a service that will complete an engine oil analysis for around $25.00.  I merely need a sample of your oil taken during your fall engine service which in is mailed to a lab in Atlanta, Ga. They will in turn mail back a printed description of what may or may not be included in your engine oil that could be affecting your engine’s health and performance.

For laying up the engine, some mechanics like to pull all the water drain plugs from the engine and allow the water to run out. I have done this and from time to time we find in the spring that all the water had in fact not run out and I have had some unexpected repairs to make to an engine. What I really prefer to do is to replace all the engine water with an anti freeze solution. This allows all of the engine parts to remain lubricated and rust free while in storage. The real bonus here is that when the boat is launched in the spring, all one has to do is start it and drive away without any additional work.

As for the fuel tank issue, again there is differing opinions. My experience says that for those of you with gasoline engines, I would top off the fuel tank, add a fuel stabilizer and call it good. For those of you with diesel engines, I have to fudge my bets. While you are still prone to fuel tank condensation, you are also subject to a microscopic algae growth that is much more detrimental to your fuel system. Since most of you with diesel engines are sailors, you tend to use very little fuel over the course of the season. As a result, once the algae bloom has started in your fuel system, the only way to be rid of it is to remove the fuel, either by burning it in the engine or by having it removed from the tank manually. If you keep adding to this contaminated fuel, you just keep expanding the problem. If you’ve never had a fuel problem, you’re going to want to keep it that way. Just ask someone who has had to go through the expense and inconvenience of a fuel system cleaning. Not only is it expensive to remedy, but a fuel system breakdown almost always happens when you need your engine the most. I would recommend an algaecide in the fuel when you fuel-up and a diesel fuel stabilizer at lay-up. Your engine’s livelihood should not be taken lightly. With a little preplanning, it will run longer and much more reliably for years to come.

Anyone that is requesting engine service and/vessel winterization this fall, I would ask that you please remember to leave your engine and owner manuals on board for the technicians use. Each boat we board is different from the one before it and the less time it takes to locate your hot water heater, decide on your engine filter types or determine how many air conditioning pumps you have, the less time we have to spend completing those tasks and the less money it will cost you. Please remember that it is your responsibility to see that your fresh water tanks have been run or pumped dry and that you waste holding tank has been pumped prior to any winterization service. Your help would be appreciated.

Have a great winter!

Bill Van Gee