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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

November 02, 2016

Step-By-Step Winterizing Wizardry for Outboard Engines Part 2

by Bob Banfelder

Continuing from yesterday's November 1st winterizing procedure. As a reminder, I'm using our 90 horsepower Yamaha TXR 4-stroke outboard engine as an overall model.

PHASE THREE: lubrication points, engine fogging procedure, changing spark plugs [if needed], winterizing bilge pump and live-well pump(s)


Items: grease gun & cartridge ~ paper towels & rags ~ proper grease gun fitting(s)

Step 1: Consult your owner's manual for the location of lubrication points.


At which time [if needed] CHANGING of SPARK PLUGS

Items: YAMALUBE Store-Rite Engine Fogging Oil (can with spraying tube ) ~ stepladder ~ WD-40, boat key(s) ~ paper towels ~ rags ~ electric screwdriver & bits ~ Dielectric lubricant ~ Anti-Size lubricant ~ Q-Tips ~ spark plug gap tool ~ 5/8 in. socket wrench with 6 in. extension ~ paper towels ~ vinyl gloves ~ [if needed: four (4) NGK LFR5A-11 spark plugs]

Step 1: With cowling removed, use an electric screwdriver to facilitate the removal of access cover to spark plugs.

Step 2: Carefully remove spark plug boot and spark plug — one at a time so as not to mix up the wiring sequence.

Step 3: If needed, replace spark plugs at that time. I run approximately 200 hours before changing plugs. Consult your owner's manual and gap plugs accordingly. My engine requires a 0.039 – 0.043 gap; I gap at 0.039.

Step 4: Utilizing the can's spraying tube, insert into nozzle then squirt a small amount of fogging oil into each spark plug's chamber. With a gloved finger, smear a small amount of anti-seize lubricant around each spark plug thread. Squeeze a tiny amount of Dielectric lubricant on the head of a Q-Tip and coat the inside of each spark plug boot. Replace plugs. A good estimate of correct torque is ¼ to ½ of a turn past finger tight.

Step 5: Turn the ignition key on then quickly off to crank but not start the engine. If, however, the engine does start, shut it off immediately if not sooner. :o) :o) The fogging oil has now lined the cylinder walls. Yes, you will note some smoke. Not to worry. Lightly spray W-D 40 all around and atop the engine. I said, lightly. Replace the cowling.


Items: -50 degrees RV pink antifreeze ~ extended cup-type toilet plunger

Bilge Pump Procedure:

Step 1: Pour in a half gallon of pink RV antifreeze at anchor well, which runs into bilge (aft) area.

Step 2: Hit the bilge pump switch on console, passing the pink chemical through the discharge fitting. Make sure that the antifreeze discharge is dark pink; not light pink. You will see the discharge change from light pink (because it contains water) to dark pink, meaning that the antifreeze has completely run through the pump, which is now winterized.

Live-well(s) Procedure:

There are several ways to winterize your live-well pump(s). The following is a quick, easy way.

Step 1: Unscrew the pick-up (intake) screened strainer at the stern of the boat then gently place and press the plunger over the opening.

Step 2: Making sure that the live-well's aerator valve is in the open position, have your partner in the boat pour a gallon of pink RV antifreeze down into the live-well then immediately hit the respective aerator switch (forward or aft) on the console as you hold back the flow of fluid at the stern. Yes, some of the antifreeze will spill from around the plunger; however, most of the fluid will be sucked up through the live-well pump and recirculating tubing. When your partner sees the fluid turn from a light pink color to a dark pink color, you're good to go.

PHASE FOUR: changing primary fuel filter element, changing vapor fuel filter [if needed], cleaning and securing the electronics and boat for the season, wash & wax boat, remove batteries


My engine is equipped with a PRIMARY FUEL FILTER ELEMENT that must be changed annually. It is located inside the plastic filter bowl as pictured below on the port (left) side of the engine.

Items: Yamaha Engine's Primary Fuel Filter Element 6D8- WS4A- 002 ~ Yamaha Engine's Primary Fuel Filter Element's O-ring (gasket) ~ 6D8-24564-00 ~ adjustable wrench

Note: My Primary Fuel Filter Element is to be used only in models with the "6D8" mark stamped on the filter housing, not to be used with any other model.

Step 1: With the adjustable wrench, unscrew the PRIMARY FUEL FILTER ELEMENT bowl nut at the top of the unit. This releases the unit from frame and allows you to get a firm grip on the plastic cylinder bowl in order to separate it from its cap by turning the bowl counterclockwise to open. However, there are two wires extending from the base of the plastic Primary Fuel Filter Bowl, which could be precariously twisted. To avoid this, detach the blue clip/wire to the left [shown below], which will prevent the wires from twisting as you remove the bowl from the cap by hand. It is secured tightly, so be careful. Leave gas in bowl.

Step 2: Remove old Primary Fuel Filter Element with its O-ring (fuel filter gasket) from top of unit by gently pulling downward. Replace both new element and O-ring by pushing upward until the element is seated.

Step 3: Close Primary Fuel Filter Element Bowl securely by turning the bowl clockwise, reattach the blue clip/wire, reattach Primary Fuel Filter Bowl to top of unit and tighten down nut with wrench.

From left to right: Primary Fuel Filter Bowl with Element [vertical] & Vapor Fuel Filter [horizontal]


My engine is equipped with a Vapor FUEL FILTER that only gets changed after 800 hours, or unless you see gas within it. It is located horizontally to the starboard (right) side of the Fuel Filter Element Bowl [as shown above].

Items: Yamaha Engine's Vapor Fuel Filter 69J-24502-00 ~ wire cutters ~ adjustable wrench

If the Vapor Fuel Filter needs replacement, use a pair of wire cutters to carefully snip the two cable ties from hoses. Remove hoses from filter. Remove old filter, and snap in new. Reattach hoses and, obviously, new cable ties.


Items: damp cloth ~ CRC: a marine electronic cleaner ~ plastic storage box & towel

Step 1: Remove, clean and store your electronics. A damp (not soaked) cloth of mild, tepid water is all I use to clean the shell (housing) of the GPS/Fish-finder, and the VHF marine radio and/or handheld unit. After air-drying the items, I lightly spray both the male and female connections with CRC. Next, I wrap each unit in a hand towel and store them in a hard, protective plastic sportsmen's dry-box until next season.


Items: bucket ~ Mother's soap or Meguiar's Car Wash (preserves wax protection) ~ polishing cloths ~ large soft towel ~ rags ~ paper towels ~ NuFinish car/boat polish (you can apply this product in the sun) ~ duct tape

Step 1: Before walking away from my boat, and because the vessel is close to the water and may occasionally be exposed to a higher than normal tide, I use two small strips of duct tape to cover the cooling H2O inlet covers (vents) on each side of the lower unit.


Items: 17mm socket wrench ~ 14mm socket wrench ~ kneeling pad ~ mechanic's pad on which to place tools (protects gelcoat's surface)

Step 1: Before removing batteries, turn battery switch to OFF position.

Step 2: Make a note of which battery is which. Example: Starboard battery = #1 battery. Port battery = #2 battery.

Step 3: #1 Starboard battery removal procedure:
Disconnect negative (- thick black) cable first; use 14mm socket.
Disconnect positive (+ thick red) cable next; use 17mm socket.

Note that I record the order, position, and color of my accessory wires connected to the battery terminals. Yours will surely be different. List accordingly. It will make life easier come spring when you reinstall your batteries. Trust me.

Again, these are my battery wiring notes.

# 1 Starboard Battery

Positive small post takes thin orange/green accessory wire with blue crimp.

Positive small post takes thick positive (+) red battery cable on top.

Negative small post takes thick negative (-) black battery cable.

Next is the thin black accessory wire with yellow crimp.

Lastly, is the slightly thinner black accessory cable.

Bird's-eye view of #1 starboard battery with accessory wires and cables attached

Step 4: #2. Port battery removal procedure:

Disconnect negative (- thick black) cable first; use 14mm socket.
Disconnect positive (+ thick red) cable next; use 17mm socket.


Bravo! You've just graduated and are officially a Winterizing Wizard. Oh, I almost forgot. If you are independently wealthy, hate getting your hands dirty, dislike work in general — as opposed to working these procedures as a labor of love — please disregard all of the above. Didn't I initially tell you in Part 1 to read through everything first? Well, didn't I? :o) :o) On a more serious note, winterizing and maintaining your outboard engine will save you a great deal of money. That's a given. Additionally, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you did this yourself — properly.

Note: I change the Fuel/Water Separator, zinc(s), wash and wax the interior of boat during Spring Commissioning. I'll cover that procedure, along with bottom painting, at the beginning of March 2017.


As an aside, for those of you who have been following my reports regarding the pollution of the Peconic River over the last two years referencing the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant, in addition to seven years fighting the Calverton/Manorville toxic plume debacle, I said that I'd let Nor'east Saltwater readers know when the plant (which was supposed to be completed this past March) is fully operational. Finally, it is! The $24 million upgrade was completed as of Monday, September 26, 2016. Now, the powers that be can address the antiquated septic and sewer issues that contribute and continue polluting our waterways. Referencing the Calverton/Manorville toxic plume fiasco, no one is really talking. No new ink on that matter. At least we're moving in the right direction referencing the lower region of the Peconic River in Riverhead.

Bob Banfelder

Award-Winning Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoors 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

on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

November 01, 2016

Step-By-Step Winterizing Wizardry for Outboard Engines Part 1

by Bob Banfelder

For a basic understanding of where you should begin the winterizing process as well as the reasons why, please first peruse these pages. Doing so now will undoubtedly save you a great deal of time, money, and frustration later. I'll use our 90 horsepower Yamaha TXR 4-stroke outboard engine as an overall model for winterizing outboard engines.

Words of sound advice before we begin winterizing: two heads and pairs of hands are better than one. Having a partner will be especially helpful. I have a partner, Donna. We have been winterizing and spring commissioning our boats for the better part of twenty-five years. To avoid frustration, start your work early in the day, have the necessary tools, materials, and equipment handy, and as you work through these instructions, with a pen and these guidelines at the ready, jot down specific information as it pertains to your engine and boat. For example, where I may use a ½-inch open-end wrench for a certain procedure, you may need a 7/16-inch socket. Simply record the change. This will considerably expedite the procedure the second time around. You will note that all tools, material, and equipment are listed for each procedure. Filing away this report when finished then working from a freshly printed copy will keep the information neat and clean for future reference. Working with these general instructions, along with your owner's manual, you will experience little if any difficulty.

It is both amazing and amusing to watch folks run back and forth retrieving tools, materials, and equipment in order to winterize their boats. Organization is absolutely the key to flawlessly performing the following procedures in addition to maintaining one's sanity. Several small items such as screws, nuts, washers, and O-rings are neatly arranged in a shallow, waxed cardboard box that once contained four lobsters on ice. Cleanup of oil, water, and grease, afterward, is simple. Larger items are set out and in easy reach. Waiting until the last moment to hunt up tools, materials, and equipment can really hold up the operation. Bad enough that wind, rain, or a setting sun can postpone the process when working outdoors. Again, be organized and get started as early in the day as possible. Many times I'm at the mercy of the tide in order to haul the boat. Therefore, if it's too late in the day to start another procedure, Donna and I continue the next step, weather permitting, on another day. Let's begin.

PHASE ONE: stabilizing the fuel system, hauling the boat, securing drain plug, pressure washing the vessel.


Items: Sta-bil gasoline stabilizer ~ Star Tron: enzyme fuel treatment ~ measuring cup showing ounces ~ paper towels and rags ~ funnel ~ stepladder

Step 1: Before I top off the fuel tank to approximately 7/8ths capacity so as to deter condensation and allow for expansion during the off season, I stabilize the gas with a good conditioner, following the label's instructions, running the additive through the system. I also add the proper amount of an enzyme fuel treatment, which also addresses ethanol fuel issues in today's gasoline.


Items: pressure washer ~ vinyl rain suit ~ vinyl gloves ~ stepladder ~ garden hose ~ paper towels ~ heavy-duty canvas work gloves ~ MaryKate On/Off ~ chip brush ~ block of wood ~ marine grease ~ safety glasses ~ hearing protection

Step 1: Haul the boat and position it on the trailer so that the rollers are either several inches forward or rearward from last season in order to reach areas that will need attention come spring. Power wash the bottom of the hull straightaway. Pressure washing now will facilitate the task of removing barnacles and marine growth later. Pressure wash the prop(s), lower unit, stern area including transducer, strainers, swim platform, et cetera.

Note: It's certainly convenient to own your own pressure washer. But you can rent one or contract a person to perform that job. If you purchase your own, make sure that it has a psi rating of at least 2400; 5.5 horsepower; otherwise, you'll be wasting time and money in trying to remove stubborn barnacles and marine growth.

Step 2: After power washing, MaryKate the scummy waterline, working quickly with a disposable chip brush between this powerful On/Off chemical and the H2O supply. Be sure to wear safety glasses and gloves.


Items: pliers ~ rubber hammer ~ block of wood ~ 7/8-inch socket wrench with 4-inch extension ~ marine grease ~ kneeling pad to protect knees

Step 1: Place a block of wood between the anti-cavitation plate and the propeller to prevent the prop from turning. Loosen propeller nut with socket wrench, noting the order of parts as you remove them: cotter pin (straighten and pull out with pliers), propeller nut (flat side inboard), washer (cupped rim inboard), spacer (flat rim inboard), propeller, then thrust washer (ribbed surface facing inboard; i.e., high part of rim facing outboard, shallow part inboard. Take copious notes, comparing it to your manual's diagram. If you have trouble removing the prop, gently tap it on both sides by using a small piece of wood and rubber hammer. Check the prop blades, shaft and splines for any damage. Remove any fishing line from the shaft. Store the prop and parts for spring commissioning, at which time you'll reverse the order, of course, for installation.


Items: small Ziploc bag ~ cord or plastic cable tie ~ adjustable wrench

Step 1: If removable, remove and store the drain plug in a small Ziploc. With a cord or plastic cable tie, hang the bag from the boat's (steering) wheel, which will serve as a reminder to reinstall it come spring. I could write a pamphlet filled with horror stories about folks who forgot to do just that. As my vessel is in close proximity to the water, I leave the boat's drain plug screwed in just in case there is an exceptional high tide.


Items: 3.9 quarts YAMALUBE 4-stroke FC-W 10W-30 ~ vinyl gloves ~ oil filter: Yamaha #5GH 13440-00 ~ standard oil filter wrench or end-cap type ~ optional: Jabsco Porta-quick 12V oil changer ~ trash container ~ paper towels and rags ~ long wide-mouthed funnel ~ 14mm socket wrench with 4-inch extension ~ scissors ~ kneeling pad ~ container for oil disposal ~ container to catch oil flow

Step 1: No need to first run the boat under load; that is, taking the vessel out for a spin in order to get the engine oil hot. Remove the cowling (cover) to access the engine's oil filler cap then tilt the engine up in the extreme position. Remove oil cap. Using a 14 millimeter socket wrench with an extension, unscrew the engine's oil drain plug and metal washer. The plug, situated up and within the rubber drip cup, is located at the rear of the outboard as captioned below. Carefully set aside plug and washer. The oil will not drain out until you lower the engine. Having a pail or suitable container handy, slowly lower the engine and catch the flow of oil. Use a level to determine the engine's precise vertical position, allowing the oil to completely drain.

Important Note: Yamaha's owner's manual will tell you that the engine oil should be extracted with an oil changer run through the dipstick (which does require getting the oil hot) because not all the oil is fully drained through the oil drain plug via gravity since some of it lies in areas that do not completely drain. The difference in the amount of oil when extracting it from the dipstick as compared to draining it through the oil drain plug is slightly less than a cup as depicted below. This amount represents approximately 1/16th of the total volume. The owner's manual states that the engine oil is good for 100 hours or 1-year intervals. So, here's my rule of thumb: As I generally run approximately 50 hours during the boating season, I drain the oil from the oil drain plug—not the dipstick. I have consulted several knowledgeable marine mechanics on this point, and they say to simply but thoroughly drain the oil from the oil drain plug and that you'll be fine. In years when I put on something close to 100 hours, I extract the oil through the dipstick. The choice is yours. Again, you'll first have to get the oil hot to facilitate extracting the oil through the dipstick. You do not get the oil hot when draining through the oil drain plug.

Oil drain plug is located up and within the black rubber drip cup

Step 2: Once the engine oil is drained, remove the oil filter; no fuss, no muss. Be sure and apply a film of clean oil to the new oil filter gasket before installing. Put the cowling back on the housing and secure both latches.

Optional: You can easily drain the engine oil from Yamaha's 15hp–150hp 4-stroke outboards through the oil drain plug via Fred Pentt's neat little setup. Fred's You Tube video clearly explains this procedure. Click below. The cost is $15, which includes shipping. Compare this item with West Marine's Ocean Accessories Tilt-N-Drain Oil Changer at $23.99, plus shipping. You'll find that West Marine's Ocean Accessories' fitting is plastic, whereas Fred's oil drain fitting is metal. Fred Pentt's phone number is 1-360-581-0904. Checks may be sent to Fred Pentt at 2731 Aberdeen Avenue, Hoquiam, WA 98550. Why I recently opted for Fred's item is that you can drain the engine oil without playing around with a pail and a potential mess. Additionally, you can address another winterizing procedure, carefree, while the oil is draining. It's a win-win, guys and gals.

Fred Pentt's 34-inch oil drain tube and fitting (O-ring included) for Yamaha 4-stroke outboards, 15hp–150hp

PHASE TWO: prop removal, draining oil from lower unit, filling oil in the lower unit.


Items: oil drain pan ~ paper towels & rags ~ empty plastic gallon container for lube (oil) disposal ~ small level ~ kneeling pad ~ impact screwdriver ~ trash container ~ small funnel ~ rubber hammer ~ 2 gaskets # Yamaha 90430-08020

Step 1: Simply level the outboard engine and place an oil drain pan beneath the lower unit. Remove the bottom (longer) gear-lube drain plug with a screwdriver (an impact screwdriver [if needed]. With a paper towel, wipe the magnetic tip of the plug clean of any metal shavings. Set aside. Remove the upper (shorter) gear-lube drain plug at the top of the lower unit by the cavitation plate, and allow the unit to completely drain. Inspect the oil.

Note: If the oil is milky, consult your Yamaha dealer because water is getting into the gear case.

Step 2: Remove old gaskets from the two plugs (screws) and replace with new.

Place a level on the cavitation plate for precise draining of the lower unit


Items: YAMALUBE MARINE GEARCASE LUBE 0.708 US quart Hypoid SAE#90 – 80W90 ~ multi-purpose plastic quart pump kit with tubing and extension fitting for oil drain plug ~ impact screwdriver ~ regular wide-slotted screwdriver ~ plastic gallon container for used oil ~ gallon-size Ziploc storage bag and cable tie

Optional: I use a Craftsman garden pump-sprayer for multiple engines. Example: my 2.5hp, 5hp, 90hp. A nice feature on the garden sprayer is an in-line on/off flow handle. Starting the gear lube flowing then stopping it before disconnecting will prevent overfilling. Containing and storing the sprayer in a 50-pound plastic laundry pail facilitates ease of transport and collects any spills. Place the pail within a large plastic garbage bag to keep the sprayer unit protected from dirt and grime when stored.

Step 1: After the gear case lube has completely drained from the lower unit, refill it with fresh gear oil by connecting either of the pressurized filling devices to the lower (bottom) oil drain plug via the extension fitting. Pump the oil in slowly so as not to create an air lock, right up to the oil level opening (top). As the oil starts to come out, immediately secure the opening with the top plug.

Step 2: Next, unscrew the extension fitting from the lower unit, quickly replacing the lower (bottom) plug. I secure both screws by firmly tightening then tapping the back of the impact screwdriver with a rubber hammer. This will lock the screws solidly in place. Actually, I try and unscrew both plugs with a regular slotted screwdriver [without employing the impact screwdriver]. The screws should be solidly tight, whereby you would need the impact screwdriver to remove them—which, of course, you do not want to do. This ensures that the two plugs are not going to loosen, leak oil, or take in water.

Step 3: Finally, I wipe both areas clean and, nonetheless, check for leaks. Place the multi-purpose plastic quart pump kit with tubing and extension fitting in an upright position, securing it to the pump's handle with a cable tie. Store the item in the Ziploc bag till next time. This will avoid an oily mess.

Quart pump kit with tubing and extension fitting

Tomorrow, November 2nd, we'll continue with Part 2, Phase Three.

Bob Banfelder

Award-Winning Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoors 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

on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

April 01, 2013

Barrier Epoxies & Ablative Paints: The Bottom Line

by Bob Banfelder

Donna and I have been bottom painting fiberglass hulls for some twenty-six years. We have used hard paints in the past with satisfaction but have recently switched to ablative (soft) paints for overall superior performance. Depending on where you boat, each method has its specific advantages. Fishing and boating in the northeast, namely Long Island, Donna and I have come to learn that ablative antifouling bottom paints are your better choice for fighting any number of culprits; namely, barnacles and algae; that is, marine growth and slime. Avoid paint buildup resulting from hard paints applied over the course of years and the unnecessary sanding that will eventually have to be addressed.

A few seasons ago we downsized, purchasing a new center console. I paid top-dollar for superior bottom painting. However, the boatyard had not properly prepared the craft; hence, virtually all of the paint peeled away by the end of the first season. The consensus from professionals was that the hull had not been thoroughly dewaxed or properly sanded. An old familiar saying states, "No scratchy, no sticky," referring in this case to protective barrier and top-coat antifouling paints not adhering properly to the hull below the waterline.

The boatyard was located out of state; therefore, it was not cost effective to return the boat for the crew to start anew. Needless to say, it was cost prohibitive for a boatyard here in New York to undo what had been done and to start from the beginning. We received blow-away estimates. What to do? Donna and I decided to do the entire bottom from scratch, each and every step of the way. Suffice it to say, the boatyard reimbursed us for the materials—not our time. The two of us spent innumerable hours prepping, scraping, dewaxing, scouring, washing, sanding, etching, priming and painting. Skip a step and you're wasting your time. Working with the boat sitting on a roller trailer, having to reposition the vessel by employing a come-along in order to reach all areas, proved grueling. However, we were determined to do things right.

Going down life's path, I've learned to turn negative situations into positive experiences. I'd do the necessary research, experiment then write an article or two on the results. We started out by asking professionals who worked in boatyards in our area precisely what applications they suggested (hard versus ablative paints), as well as their reasons why. As already stated, ablative won out for fighting barnacles and other marine growth, coupled to the fact that there would be less work to be done in the long run.

The next questions I addressed were specifically what name-brand primers and paints professionals preferred. The two names that kept resurfacing were Pettit and Interlux. Once again, I asked their reasons why. One fellow answered those questions rather well. "Because only the best will do," he stated with assurance. Three coats of 2-part Pettit Protect Epoxy Primer for barrier protection was clearly the preferred choice.

$88.99 per gallon MSRP

Two additional coats of either Pettit Ultima SR 40 Dual Biocide or Interlux Micron CSC were patently the preferred ablative topcoat antifouling paints.

After applying the recommended three coats of Pettit's Protect Epoxy Primer barrier (applied by brush in lieu of roller), Donna and I decided to paint one half of the hull bottom with two coats of Pettit's Ultama SR 40 ablative paint, and the other half with two coats of Interlux's Micron CSC ablative paint. The first coat was brushed on; the second coat was applied with a roller. The results were remarkable. In twenty-six years of boating, we've never had such a cleaner bottom after hauling the vessel at the end of the season. I could not determine which ablative worked best; they both appeared equal in terms of performance. Both sides of the bottom were clean and required only a light power washing. Think of ablative antifouling paint as a bar of soap that wears away after many showers. Ablative paints wear and remove marine organisms from your hull as a bar of soap would remove dirt and grime from your body.

Straight from the companies' mouths are their advertising blurbs:

"Pettit's Ultima SR-40 combines a high copper load (40%) with Irgarol, an algicide, to offer outstanding dual biocide, multi-season protection. Its ablative surface minimizes coating build-up while providing a continuous supply of fresh biocides. It [the boat] can be hauled and re-launched without repainting. Formerly sold as Ultima SR and Horizons Pro, this formula has a proven track record as one of America's premium ablative bottom paints."

$189.99 per gallon MSRP

Interlux states that, "Micron CSC is a great multi-season ablative bottom paint with a copper-copolymer formula that provides controlled release of antifouling biocides at the paint surface. The longevity of the coating depends on the amount of paint applied. CSC retains its effectiveness even when the boat is removed from the water for extended periods (winter storage, for example). To reactivate come springtime, use a stiff brush or power wash lightly."

$194.99 per gallon MSRP

Our boat stays in the water a good seven months out of the year, generally from April to the end of October; we use it regularly. As the boat's bottom is white, the primer coats gray, and both ablative topcoats are black, it is easy to monitor how our job is holding up. Since there is no white hull visible as well as very little gray primer showing, I could proceed with a single coat (to be applied by a roller in lieu of brush), of either Pettit's Ultima SR-40 or Interlux's Micron CSC at the beginning of the new season and see how that works out. However, I'm going to continue the way we were going, experimenting with both ablative paints in order to see which one holds up better with a single rolled on coat for the new season. I'll report the results to you folks next season.

I was strongly advised early on that when priming a new boat, it is best to apply three coats of epoxies with brushes, not rollers. When applying ablative topcoat paints, it is best to brush on the first coat; subsequent coats may then be applied with a roller. For protective barrier coats, remember that Pettit is spelled with three T's. This will help you remember that Pettit is the 3-coat primer preferred by professionals.

Do things right the first time by purchasing the best primers and paints available. Pettit and Interlux top-of-the-line products are superior. Do not hunt around for bargain primers and paints, for they will cost you more in the long run, both in terms of money and time spent laboring.

Enjoy a great boating/fishing season, guys and gals.

My thanks to the Parts Department at Lighthouse Marina, Aquebogue, re photographs. Lighthouse Marina has a complete line of the aforementioned primer and paints.


October 01, 2012


by Bob Banfelder

My first and only inflatable was and still is—going on nineteen years—a 7-foot, 9-inch Achilles, used initially as a tender for our family cruiser. The inflatable sat on the swim platform or at dockside nine plus months a year for the first six years. Next, the dinghy found a perch atop our new pilothouse or at dockside for the following decade. During the off-seasons, when our cruising/fishing vessels were shrink wrapped and stored, the inflatable sat at dockside, ready for a quick plunge anytime between post-Thanksgiving and the arrival of severe wintry weather, at which time it was finally stored away before being put back into full service around mid-March. Whether baking in a sultry summer sun or dusted with a thin layer of snow, that inflatable took on winter's holdover striped bass, early spring flounder, fluke, weakfish and bluefish as well as a few other species. When we recently downsized to a center console, which no longer accommodated a tender, the inflatable, once again, remained dockside practically ten months out of each year. That's one hundred ninety months of service and still going strong.

A few friends and several acquaintances have gone through two, three and even four of their inflatable boats in that same time frame. Why have I experienced such longevity while those other folks have trashed their inflatables after only five years? No, those folks did not buy junk as you may be thinking. They bought name brand models from reputable manufacturers. However, they bought inflatables constructed of PVC material in lieu of Hypalon/Neoprene. Salespeople had told these folks that unless they lived in the tropics, they need not waste their money on those more expensive materials. That's very bad advice, especially if you use your inflatable as elaborated above. For longevity, insist on inflatable boats constructed with Hypalon exteriors and Neoprene interiors. Too, you want seams that are double-taped and glued on both sides. These are the major factors referencing inflatable boat longevity. Hypalon/Neoprene construction is generally guaranteed for ten years. PVC construction is usually guaranteed for five. Let's examine how we can practically double the life of a Hypalon/Neoprene inflatable with a bit of knowledge, patience and simple instruction.

Hypalon's outer construction is durability personified, standing up to and offering UV (ultraviolet) protection against the sun's harmful rays, which would otherwise cause the inflatable skin's early degradation no differently than those rays would harm our own skin. Too, the exterior material resists abrasion, oil and gasoline spills, fungi and mildew. Coupled with the interior material of Neoprene, this coating adds strength and tear resistance as well as delivering the greatest degree of air retaining capability. Compared to Hypalon/Neoprene construction, PVC construction will ostensibly save you money in the short run but at the expense of having you experience frustration in the long run. The net result is simply not worth the cheaper price.

But let's face it. Eventually, there is going to come a point where even Hypalon/Neoprene construction is going to show its age and weaken. Hence, after a decade I experienced an annoying but minor problem. A slow leak had started to develop in one of the tubes. First, I applied soapy water to the tube's entire area, looking for air bubbles that would pinpoint the problem. I could find nothing. Next, I dumped the inflatable into a friend's swimming pool. We turned the boat over, swam beneath it, up-ended the craft, searching relentlessly for any sign of bubbles, all to no avail. There was not a hint of where the leak was coming from. We removed the boat from the pool and pumped it to its limit. Back into the water it went. Surely we'd see bubbles indicating where the leak was coming from. Once again, nothing was found.

Frustrated, I went home and started to do some research. I learned that there was a product on the market that was guaranteed to stop slow leaks, so long as it wasn't along a seam. I learned, too, that a defined slow leak was, indeed, discernable. However, a tiny pinhole leak, I was informed, would unlikely be detected with either the soapy water test or the swimming pool examination— no matter how hard I tried! Ah, but was I willing to spend $60 on the one quart product, taking a gamble that the leak wasn't along a seam? That took a little thought. Although I'm not an Atlantic City or Foxwoods Casino kind of guy, I figured I'd give West Marine's Model 444679 Sealant for Inflatable Boats a try. The product worked like a charm. As a matter of fact, I've had two subsequent pinhole leaks over the next eight years, and the quart container had sealed those three tiny leaks. At $20 a shot so as to extend the life of that inflatable an extra eight years (for a total of almost nineteen years), well, I believe I hit the jackpot!

The product is relatively easy to use. On my Achilles, I simply removed the inflatable valve from the air chamber, deflating the tube completely. Next, I squeezed in the required amount of product according to directions, re-inflated the tube ‘just to rigidity' then slowly turned the inflatable end-over-end and side to side so that the sealant completely covered the interior of the chamber. The leak was discovered immediately as tiny bubbles appeared upon the tube's surface, sealing the pinhole. You allow the boat to sit for a few hours, turning it over approximately every half hour for three or four hours so as to prevent pooling. Re-inflate to normal pressure, and you're on your way.

Note: To be on the safe side, I patched (not included with the sealant) that first pinhole with an Achilles Hypalon repair kit that came with my inflatable. Over the course of years, experimenting with those two other pinholes that I repaired [and marked], I did not use a patch kit. I wanted to see if the sealant had worked on its own. It has, indeed!

To be candid, though, noting that the inflatable is pushing nineteen years, I would not invest another $60 in repairing it anew. Let's examine why. That first pinhole appeared after a decade; the second after approximately fifteen years; the third occurred most recently. The rate of repair frequency is on the rise. Still, to have gotten practically two decades out of an inflatable boat is a homerun. While the Hypalon stood up to the elements, the outer transom marine-grade plywood board mount had to be replaced after some twelve years, having supported 3.5 and 5 horsepower engines spanning that period. It was a simple job to unscrew the old transom board, using it as a template to pattern a new one. Also, I only had to replace one of the wooden floorboards, using the old stern section floorboard as a template. When this craft is beyond repair, I'll probably opt for a larger Achilles inflatable with aluminum flooring and a fiberglass transom.

Hypalon/Neoprene construction is the way to go. Forget, PVC (polyvinyl chloride – a thermoplastic resin) construction. The only PVC you'll find in this craft is a rod holder that I fashioned from a piece of plastic pipe; that and a Black's [47 holes] Hook & Rig Holder. In the inflatable arena, you get what you pay for. Look for longevity and avoid unnecessary frustration. With a little knowledge, patience and instruction as outlined above, you can virtually double the expected life of your inflatable.


Monthly Report:

Referencing our westerly North Fork bays, we're not quite there yet with the bass. The peanut bunker are sparsely spread and approximately 5½ inches; the stripers are still small. On the morning of September 27th, I'm holding Donna's 20-inch sideliner. I released a 16-inch schoolie and some nice cocktail blues just moments later. Surface water temperature was 66.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

We ran into Pat Mundus and her husband, Earl, in Greenport on September 30th. She said that you can ". . . walk on the bass . . . ." further east. I think that we're going to turn the corner for keepers in our westerly bays; namely, the Great Peconic and Little Peconic Bays in less than a fortnight.

Award-Winning Novelist, Outdoors Writer,
Creator of Unique Course/Guides,
Editor in Chief, Broadwater Books
Cablevision TV Show Host, Special Interests with Bob Banfelder & Donna Derasmo

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