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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

March 01, 2017

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

by Bob Banfelder

Springing into Action ~ Part 1

If you had followed my 2016 winterizing procedures in Nor'east Saltwater for November 1st (Part 1) and November 2nd (Part 2), titled STEP-BY-STEP WINTERIZING WIZARDRY FOR OUTBOARD ENGINES, the majority of the work is now behind you. Let's move on to Spring Commissioning, referencing both your outboard engine and boat for this 2017 season. I'll continue using our 90 horsepower Yamaha TXR 4-stroke outboard engine and 18-foot Nautic Star center console as a generic model. If you hadn't followed those winterizing instruction as a general guide, you may want to copy those earlier pages for future reference. If so, please log on to Part 1: and Part 2: for complete details.

Let's uncover the boat and continue where we left off. It would be a good idea to first read through each procedure carefully before proceeding so that you will be familiar and highly organized. You will receive several useful suggestion as well as very important information that you may not be aware of. This approach will save you time, money, and frustration.

Come spring is when I change the Fuel/Water Separating Filter, address touch-up primers and paints for fiberglass and underwater hardware, check and reinstall batteries, replace zinc(s), reinstall prop, wash and wax exterior/interior of boat, clean the bilge, polish on-deck fixtures and fittings, and protect vinyl seats. Therefore, these are the steps we'll be covering referencing Spring Commissioning.

Let's get started.

PHASE ONE: changing the Marine Fuel/Water Separating Filter


Items: Yamaha MARINE FUEL/WATER SEPARATING FILTER-High Performance 90 GPH/10 Micron Filtration ~ oil filter wrench ~ rags ~ paper towels ~ aluminum pie pan ~ glass jar ~ ¼ pint fresh gas

Step 1. Raising my outboard engine allows access to where the FUEL/WATER SEPARATING FILTER is located. Doing so shifts the group of cables out of the way for easier accessibility.

Note: The location of the spin-on/-off FUEL/WATER SEPARATING FILTER is rather difficult to reach and remove because it is practically touching the stern/starboard corner bulkhead—deep within the recess of my 18-foot Nautic Star.

A metal looped band-type filter wrench is required to remove the filter in that narrow space. No other type of oil filter wrench worked. I needed the thinness of that band to encircle the filter. However, the wrench would not properly grip the filter and kept slipping. What to do?

I took a thin sheet of cork gasket material, measured and cut two narrow strips to fit neatly within the metal band, and secured them in place with Gorilla Glue. The strips have remained firmly in place since 2010. The modified tool is a godsend. Yes, necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention. Hopefully, your filter is located in a more accessible area.

Note cork gasket material strips at one o'clock and seven o'clock positions within filter wrench band

Step 2. While removing the Fuel/Water Separator, it has to be supported in my left hand as I loosen the filter with the wrench held in my right, being careful not to spill any gas as I remove it. I have a disposable aluminum pie pan placed beneath the filter canister to catch any spill.

Step 3. Pour the old gas into a clean, clear jar and check for water, dirt, debris, and other contaminants. The gas should be clear, not cloudy or white in color. If you do have water in the gas, you'll see its separation at the bottom of the jar as the water is heavier than the gas; gas floats atop water. Consult your authorized marine mechanic if this occurs. I never had an issue using a Yamaha MARINE FUEL/WATER SEPARATING FILTER-High Performance 90 GPH/10 Micron Filtration canister.

Step 4. Nearly fill the new Fuel/Water Separating Filter with fresh gasoline to facilitate priming the fuel system.
Step 5. Lubricate the new filter gasket with engine oil, carefully spin on and tighten securely— approximately ½ turn after the gasket contacts the filter head base.

PHASE TWO: touch-up priming


Items: protective clothing and covering for head, face, hands, and eyes [goggles] ~ 2-part Pettit Protect Epoxy Primer (4700 and 4701 Gray) ~ tight-fitting filtered respirator mask (not paper) ~ paint scraper ~ 220 grit sandpaper ~ 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

Clearly an excellent primer choice for barrier protection

Let's first examine the all-important barrier-coat primer. I'll start by saying that when I pulled the boat for winterizing during the 2016 season, I did not have a single barnacle on the hull, having employed three coats of both an excellent 2-part epoxy barrier primer and ablative antifouling paint when the vessel was brand-new in 2010/11. What I did initially note at the end of the 2016 season was a light, slimy marine growth buildup, along with a few barnacles (very few) on the metal hardware, at and just below the waterline, which came off easily by immediately pressure washing. Additionally, having carefully inspected the hull after power washing, I noted a few small, patchy-white areas where not only the black ablative paint had worn away, but where the gray primer coat had begun to wear away, too, barely exposing the fiberglass/gelcoat. This was after six seasons. Most of those tiny areas were where the trailer's rollers had covered areas of the hull the season before. Therefore, when hauling the boat, I position it on the trailer so that I can access those worn-away spots come spring.

A few worn-away areas along hull (grayish-white); use come-a-long (if needed)

The magic to maintaining a virtually barnacle-free bottom is to first lightly sand the gelcoat—not with a heavy grit sandpaper, but with a fine 220 grit sandpaper. You want to prepare the area so that the primer will adhere well, not roughly scratched to the point where the protective gelcoat compromises the fiberglass. Next, apply three light coats of gray primer to the exposed area. This sounds like a lot of work. Actually, it's not. The initial step takes longer because you have to first lightly sand then wipe clean the area before applying your first coat of primer, allowing it to thoroughly dry. The second and third steps go quickly because you need not sand and wipe clean; however, you do need to apply all three coats with a brush—not a roller.

Allow those three colors to serve as your guide: white (fiberglass/gelcoat), gray (primer), and black (ablative paint). If you are not down to the exposed white surface of the hull, you need not prime. If you have only small areas of gray primer showing, with a chip brush, hit those areas with one coat of black ablative bottom paint. If no gray is showing, 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. Why add unnecessary weight (paint) to the hull? That's the bottom line.

Note: In fact, I wrote an article for Nor'east Saltwater back in April 2013 titled Barrier Epoxies & Ablative Paints ~ The Bottom Line. You need not read the article to proceed with any of these Spring Commissioning procedures. I mention it simply because it covers Barrier Epoxies & Ablative Paints in depth. If you're interested, log on to

For hull touch-up, I'm going to stick with the 2-part epoxy barrier primer and ablative bottom paint for the 2017 procedure (stick being the operative word).

Note: Here is how I went about doing this touch-up job without making it seem like work. Call it a rationalization if you must. I pick a warm day between fall and spring. You could be raking leaves or cleaning up the garden, washing and/or waxing the car, cleaning screens, et cetera. In between these chores, I chip away at this important touch-up priming project.

Step 1: Scrape any loose paint from hull area.

Step 2: With a wide slot-head screwdriver, open up both cans of 2-part epoxy primer.

Step 3: Using separate stirring sticks, mix each can well. After noting the mixture ratio stated on the label, use the same sticks with which you just stirred the contents to simply dip and drip a small amount of primer and catalyst into an empty tuna can. A little bit goes a long way in covering small areas. With either newspaper or rags, wipe the sticks clean and save for next time.

Step 4: With a wooden tongue depressor, mix the combined contents well; discard stirrer. That's all the primer paint you'll need for applying each coat with a 3-inch chip brush to those small, well-worn painted areas. Allow to dry overnight.

In a large bucket, have all the items needed neatly stored and handy for repeating two more applications.

Tomorrow we'll continue with Part 2, Phase Three: Ablative Paints.
Stay tuned.

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 in paperback and e-book formats on Amazon

Available in paperback and e-book formats on Amazon

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

September 01, 2016

PORTA-BOTES ~ Four Fantastic, Foldable, Affordable, Angling/Hunting Boat Models ~ Part I

by Bob Banfelder

Imagine four portable boat models that fold to a four-inch thickness, are the shape and width of a surfboard, come in easily transportable lengths of 8½ feet, 10 feet 8 inches, 12½ feet, 14 feet, and are comparatively lighter yet more durable than other boat manufacturing materials. The second generation Alpha Series Porta-Bote design boasts a one-piece integral transom. Forget about inflatables. This assemblage of foldable Porta-Botes is the epitome of portability.

Packaged and Shippped Securely

Somehow, someway, the Porta-Bote International line of portable, foldable boats had eluded me as it has a good many angling/hunting folks. In my research, I had asked myself why this is so. How could a mode of truly fantastic, foldable, portable, affordable watercraft have escaped me? Over 100,000 Porta-Bote owners throughout the world are more than satisfied with their readily transportable craft and its unique features. Why not a million-plus people? Many folks are not even privy to these remarkable boats. Perhaps the answer lies in that Porta-Bote's older Genesis Series models (dating back twenty of now forty years of operation) had a separate transom, which required more setup time, plus the fact that there were minimal leaks along the seam where it joined the hull when attached. Not the case with the Alpha Series one-piece foldable transom. This more modern innovation incorporates an intricate multi-step welding system that joins four foldable panels by way of a sealant sandwiched between them via an injection process, incorporating a series of stainless steel wire staples that secure the seams and form the transom—guarding against leaks. Ingenious! This technique is also utilized in the aerospace industry.

Still, we're talking two decades where I somehow missed the boat so to speak; that is, the foldable, affordable Porta-Bote evolution. In its hull construction, Porta-Bote employs the space-age material polypropylene-copolymer, which is nearly twice the thickness (i.e., ¼ inch) of the aluminum used in building both riveted and welded recreational crafts. Unlike aluminum, polypropylene-copolymer is virtually puncture proof. In my opinion, referencing portable boats, this aerospace material makes all other materials obsolete. We'll see precisely why as we move forward with one of the most exciting watercrafts that I've reviewed to date.

Had I known about Porta-Botes earlier in time, I would have purchased one of four models from which to choose in lieu of most any kayak on the market. Granted, different types of vessels serve different purposes. A kayak can, indeed, get you into some very skinny water. So, too, can Porta-Botes with their 4-inch draft—and with considerably more comfort, room, and, most importantly, superb stability. Had I known about Porta-Botes back then, I would have purchased one in lieu of any inflatable boat. A small to medium-sized inflatable will serve as a suitable tender (dingy) as well as a fair-to-middling fishing craft. However, in reality, an inflatable boat, regardless of the size you select, you'll find that the interior space (beam, length, and bow area) has considerably less room than first imagined because of the vessel's air chamber diameters. As a comparative example to my 10-foot 8-inch Porta Bote, an Achilles inflatable model LSI-330E also has an overall length of 10 feet 8 inches; yet the inflatable has an actual inside length of only 5 feet 8 inches. Its overall beam is 7 feet 5 inches, which interiorly narrows down to 2 feet 7 inches because of a pair of 18-inch air tubes taking up most of the space. Ostensibly, you may be thinking that you're getting a 10-foot, 8-inch length inflatable boat with a beam of about 7½ feet when in actuality you're getting far less interior space than what you first imagined. You'll note the difference the moment you sit inside. Narrowing things down factually and arithmetically, you are losing approximately a whopping 67% of otherwise usable interior space!

Keep in mind the fact that most inflatable boat owners generally leave their crafts inflated for seasonal use, deflating then inflating them biannually for winter storage and spring commissioning, respectively—negating the purpose of normal portability. Why? The answer is because it is a commonplace pain in the butt to manually pedal-pump up those air chambers: three air tubes on soft bottom inflatables (two side tubes serving as bulkheads (walls)–one keel tube serving for the floor (deck). As a tender aboard a larger vessel, an inflatable is just easier to leave inflated, contending with either cumbersome maneuvering or expensive davit systems.

Porta-Botes offer considerably more comfort, room, and outstanding stability than inflatables, with emphasis on the ‘stand-alone' root word, standing, for you can comfortably stand, dance the jig, and maneuver about without fear of tipping over when casting or fighting a denizen of the deep. A promotional video on one of their web sites shows this antic. Trick photography you may be thinking? For those of you who know me well via my article writing—through the years—know that I tell it like it is. If a product has certain flaws, many a magazine would edit out such negatives, or wouldn't run the article at all. Nor'east Saltwater allows me to present both sides of a controversial argument. I have owned and/or paddled sit-in and sit-on-top type kayaks as well as touring and fishing canoes. I have propelled many a rowboat on rivers, lakes, bays, and the ocean. Porta-Bote's foldable hulls are stability personified whether purchased in 8½ foot, 10-foot 8-inch, 12½ foot, or 14 foot lengths.

Let's start with Porta-Bote's smallest 8½-foot model, weighing in at 68 pounds (less the weight of two seats). The hull's beam is 4 feet 8 inches. It most definitely serves as a great tender as well as a doable craft for two anglers. The integrated foldable transom will accommodate up to a 35-pound gas engine. The craft is easily carried short distances by one person from vehicle to nearby access point. Too, setup is a breeze.

Since Donna and I were looking for more comfortable angling conditions, I opted for the 10-foot 8-inch model, weighing in at 78 pounds (less the weight of three seats). The extra 10 pounds over that of the 8½-foot model is certainly a consideration as far as portability is concerned if handled by one person. Although Donna and I are up there in age, we have no problem lifting and positioning the folded boat atop our Subaru Outback—and that's without the aid of any mechanical device. It lays folded flat to a 4-inch thickness, 2-foot width. The integrated foldable transom will accommodate up to a 56-pound gas engine. I have a 3.5hp Tohatsu 2-stroke outboard engine weighing 28.7 pounds. Also, I have a 5hp Yamaha 2-stroke outboard engine weighing 46.2 pounds. As both engines have integral gas tanks, you need to factor in the weight of the volume of gas for each engine. For my 10-foot 8-inch Porta-Bote model, each engine's internal gas tank filled to capacity falls under the maximum engine/gas allowable weight specification.

After unlocking then locking the integrated rail cross bars across the roof of our 2015 Subaru Outback, we have a sturdy platform for which to safely transport our 10-foot 8-inch Porta-Bote. Love this vehicle, love our Porta-Bote.

For example, my Yamaha 5hp 46.2 pound engine has an integral gas tank of 2.96 quarts. Gas weighs just over 6 pounds per gallon. Therefore a quart of gas is 1.5 pounds—multiplied by approximately 3 quarts is rounded off to 4.5 pounds. Hence, I have to add approximately 4.5 pounds to the weight of the engine, bringing the now total weight of engine and gas to 50.7 pounds, which is still 5.3 pounds under the allowable total weight to hang from the transom. Good to go. Keep in mind that the newer 4-stroke engines are heavier than the older 2-stroke engines, so do the necessary math before deciding which model Porta-Bote and gas engine is right for you, both in terms of the maximum outboard weight allowable and portability. I use the lighter 3.5hp engine when traveling some distances from body of water to body of water. I use the 5hp engine when leaving the boat set up locally, no differently than most folks leave their inflatable or rowboat set up with the engine secured to the transom.

One day when I upgrade from my older 2-stroke engines, I'll research dependable 4-strokes. A suggestion would be to consider Suzuki's model DF6S 6hp outboard engine with a 1.5 liter (1.585 quarts) integral gas tank. You'll be good to go for the 10-foot 8-inch, 12½ foot, and 14 foot Porta-Bote models; the latter of which will accommodate a Suzuki 4-stroke 9.9hp engine. I mention this because Porta-Bote offers special pricing on Suzuki models 2.5hp–30hp. Of course, for covering small bodies of water, Porta-Bote's oars and oarlocks (included) will suffice. These 2-piece oars are made from lightweight yet durable plastic blades and aluminum handles. They store conveniently crosswise and out-of-the-way beneath a seat. Whether under oar or outboard power, our craft rides high and tracks extremely well due to its patented semi tri-hull configuration.

Our 10-foot 8-inch Model Porta-Bote

To facilitate matters when traversing demanding distances from vehicle to access area, the Porta-Dolly's™ 13¾-inch wheels are an indispensable, optional item. They are cleverly designed and install in seconds. You can even wheel the boat right into the water then quickly and easily remove the pair. I'm very impressed with this setup. Save yourself a step and order the dolly wheels when you order your Port-Bote. You'll thank me later. The dolly wheels and adjustable frames fit all four models. Also, note that I bungee-cord a pair of Type II life vests beneath the mid-section bench seat for out-of-the-way stowage. Good to go.

Porta-Bote & Porta-Dolly

Tomorrow, September 2nd, we will continue with Porta-Bote's Alpha Series and its superb construction, including the 12½ foot and 14-foot models.

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

Now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

Now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

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