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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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March 02, 2017

Step-By-Step Spring Commissioning for Outboard Engines & Boats

by Bob Banfelder

Springing into Action ~ Part 2

We're continuing with our spring commissioning procedures from where we left off yesterday.

PHASE THREE: bottom painting

Important Note: One has to first decide on what type of antifouling paint to use: [ablative, hard, or hybrid]. I'll be addressing ablative antifouling paints.


Items: protective clothing and covering for head, face, hands, and eyes [tight-fitting respirator & spare filters] ~ Interlux Micron CSC ablative antifouling paint, or Pettit Ultima SR 40 ablative paint ~ paint stirrer ~ roller paint tray ~ solvent resistant paint liner(s) ~ solvent-resistant 3/8-inch smooth to semi-smooth knap paint roller(s) ~ paint-roller poles (both long and short handles) ~ painter's 2-inch wide masking tape ~ slot-head screwdriver ~ nail ~ hammer ~ trash container

The most important item you should consider when bottom painting your boat— even outdoors—is a tight-fitting quality respirator and spare filters. A paper mask just doesn't cut it. If you are bottom painting out-of-doors, pick a day with no rain or heavy wind in the forecast. It would be very frustrating to have to stop in the middle of this project because of the elements.

A respirator for priming and bottom painting is a must because your health should be your number-one concern

Step 1: Tape the boat's entire waterline with painter's 2-inch wide masking tape.

Step 2: With a slot-head screwdriver, open the can's lid and remove. Place the tip of the nail into the lid's track and, with the hammer, make several evenly spaced holes for paint to drain when pouring.

Step 3: With a chip brush, first paint around any exterior fittings.

Step 4: Stir the paint well and pour just enough to fill the well of the solvent-resistant liner set within a metal paint tray. Use a chip brush to wipe clean the lid's track. Carefully roll and pick up just enough paint to load and encircle, not completely saturate the roller. Roll along liner to spread and release excess paint.
Step 5: Work from the bottom of hull upward to the taped waterline, covering the area(s) with a single coat if and where needed. You'll recall from yesterday's Part 1: If no gray primer is showing through the ablative top coat, simply forego bottom painting until the following boating season before rolling on a single light coat of ablative bottom paint to the entire hull—with a roller—right up to the waterline. Again, why add unnecessary weight (paint) to the hull? I have been alternating this step every boating season since 2010/11.

Above and below: Clearly, two excellent ablative topcoat choices

PHASE FOUR: protection for metal hardware at or below the waterline


Items: protective clothing and covering for head, face, hands, and eyes [goggles] ~ painter's 1-inch wide masking tape ~ 2-part Pettit Protect Epoxy Primer (4700 and 4701 Gray) ~ Pettit Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier 1792 aerosol spray ~ 220 grit sandpaper ~ short handle brass scratch brush ~ various size chip brushes (1in.– 4in.) ~ paint-stick stirrers ~ come-a-long ~ large bucket ~ three empty 5 oz. tuna cans ~ craft sticks ~ wide slot-head screwdriver ~ newspaper ~ rubber hammer ~ paint thinner for cleanup only ~ rags ~ trash container

Step 1:
Address all metal hardware at or just below the waterline that requires your attention; for example: swim platform bracket (stainless steel), outboard bracket below waterline (aluminum). Tape around hardware. With a chip brush, apply two coats of 2-part Pettit Protect Epoxy Primer (4700 and 4701 Gray), followed by two coats of Interlux Micron CSC ablative antifouling paint, or Pettit Ultima SR 40 ablative antifouling paint.

Allow time between coats to thoroughly dry; follow label instructions.

I had removed and stored the pair of stainless steel aerator screen strainers from the transom during the winterizing procedure. Using a brass scratch brush, clean the screens and spray both sides with two coats of Pettit Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier 1792 for superior protection.

A fine choice for underwater metals

PHASE FIVE: painting transducer/transducer wire, checking and reinstalling batteries, replacing zincs, reinstalling prop.


Items: disposable nitrile gloves ~ MDR Transducer Antifouling Paint (with built-in-brush-cap) ~ thin sheet of cardboard

Step 1. Brush on transducer paint.

Step 2. Slip a thin sheet of cardboard between the transducer wire and hull at transom. Paint the transducer wire, too.

MDR Transducer Paint

Note: Never-ever paint your transducer with bottom paint because it will render it ineffective. Use only specially formulated antifouling transducer paint, which will help prevent barnacle buildup and allow for a strong signal to be sent to your electronic unit.


Items: multimeter as battery tester (voltmeter) ~ 12-volt battery charger (6/2 amps) slot-head screwdriver ~ distilled or demineralized H2O ~ bulb-type battery filler ~ disposable nitrile gloves ~ three craft sticks ~ ruler ~ paper towels ~ trash container ~ 17mm socket wrench ~ 14mm socket wrench ~ kneeling pad ~ mechanic's pad on which to place tools (protects gelcoat's surface)

Step 1: With a multimeter set to DCV voltage 20, check the condition of your 12-volt batteries.

Step 2: Using each end of three craft sticks, fill battery cells [if needed] to a level measuring approximately 1-inch above cell's plates. Wipe sticks clean and discard.

Step 3: If the batteries need charging, set on a slow 2-amp charge until fully charged.

Note: Toward the end of last season, I saw that I needed new marine batteries. Blue Jacket deep-cycle lead acid-batteries are produced by East Penn Manufacturing Company, Incorporated (the world's largest single-site, lead-acid battery facility) – Deka [registered Trade Mark]. Blue Jacket marine batteries are distributed in Aquebogue, N.Y. by Lighthouse Marine, Inc.; a fine marine supply house, and a fine battery choice.

New batteries and paraphernalia

Step 4: Reinstall batteries, cables, and accessory wires in the inverse order that you had removed then during the winterizing procedure. We had covered those steps in detail at that time. Consult your notes so as not to put the wrong accessory wire(s) on the battery terminal post(s).


Items: stiff wire brush ~ 10mm socket wrench ~ new zinc(s) if needed.

Step 1: Remove the sacrificial zinc shown just below the outboard bracket.

Step 2: Brush the zinc bar with a stiff wire brush, loosening the surface buildup of particles that are deteriorating the anode. The rule of thumb is to discard the zinc if it has lost approximately a third of its properties, replacing it with a new anode. You can generally get two seasons out of that one particular zinc.
With the engine raised after returning home, the zinc found on the bottom of the anti-cavitation plate need not be changed often—if at all. If zincs are subject to electrolysis, they will be compromised quickly. An annual, visual inspection will determine when they need replacement.

Note: Do not paint zinc(s) or area behind zinc(s) or you will render them ineffective.


Items: marine grease ~ chip brush ~ rubber hammer, block of wood ~ 7/8-inch socket wrench with 4-inch extension, paper towels or old rags ~ kneeling pad to protect knees ~ new cotter pin—if needed

Step 1: With a chip brush, apply marine grease to spline.

Step 2: Replace prop on the spline in the reverse order (of course) than it was removed during the winterizing procedure. See your winterizing notes or refer to your owner's manual.

Step 3: Insert cotter pin.

Step 4: Screw on and tighten propeller nut with socket wrench and extension.

Note: I do not prime or paint prop blades

PHASE SIX: sprucing up boat's exterior and interior.


Items: bucket ~ Mother's soap or Meguiar's Car Wash (preserves wax protection) ~ Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ~ Simoniz Royale Marine Fiberglass Boat Cleaner Wax ~ NuFinish Car/Boat Polish (you can apply this product in the sun) ~ NEVER-DULL Wadding Polish ~ MaryKate Big Bully Bilge Cleaner ~ polishing cloths ~ large soft towel ~ rags ~ 303 Aerospace Protectant ~ boat motor ear muffs (flusher) ~ 303 Aerospace Protectant ~ engine boat key

Step 1: After soaping and washing the hull with warm water, I use a Magic Eraser to remove any stubborn marks. Rinse well and dry.

Step 2: Next, I apply a coat of Simoniz Royale Marine Fiberglass Boat Cleaner Wax for superior hull protection. This wax is expressly formulated for fiberglass. Apply in one foot square clockwise sections—wax on; then buff counterclockwise—wax off. I'm sure most of us remember the Karate Kid. Yes? Next, apply a coat of NuFinish Polish.

Step 3: Wash and wax the boat's interior using the same wax/polish procedure as for the hull, after which you can chip away at polishing stainless steel bow rails and bases, bow pulpit plate, anchor and mooring cleats, latches, hinges, hasps, et cetera, with NEVER-DULL Wadding Polish. You can wait until the boat is in the water, which may prove easier, especially if you're at a floating dock.

Step 4: For the ultimate in cushioned vinyl seat protection, I use 303 Aerospace Protectant.

Note: If you had covered the cooling H2O inlet covers (vents) on each side of the lower unit duct tape (reason explained in Part 2 of the winterizing procedure) be sure to remove those two strips.

Step 5: Follow the label instructions on MaryKate Big Bully Bilge Cleaner.


Item(s): water source, hose, boat motor ear muffs (flusher) ~ drain plug ~ engine key

Step 1. First, set up items for flushing engine on land as you do not want any surprises when launching boat. Turn on water supply. Start ‘er up and warm ‘er up.

Step 2: Before launching boat, make darn sure that the transom drain plug is secure.

Everything shipshape?

Good to go.

Step 3:
Launch boat.

Spring is but three weeks away. Have a great fishing/boating season, guys and gals.

Bob Banfelder

Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer

Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo

Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater ~ presented on the 1st & 2nd of every month.

Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

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