It’s Cold Outside Time To Winterize Your Outboard

Mike Scrapes the ice off of his truck so he can go launch his Bombard Commando for a little winter fun.

It’s that time of year here in the NW where boaters should be thinking about winterizing their outboard motors until the spring season. If you are like Mike and use your boat everyday through the winter then don’t fret, but if you are like the other 99.9 % of us who think snow and ice are cold then it’s time to winterize. Winterizing at the dealer is a good preventative step to ensure happy camper experiences in the spring.

The boys out for a little winter fun in the Bombard Commando

All it takes is a quick visit to IBC or your local dealer if you are out of state to get your lower unit serviced, your cylinders fogged and your carbs drained. If you have a fuel water separator change it and drain or stabilize your fuel tank also. In the spring when you start it up for the first time wait until the fogging oil is burned off (it’ll smoke until it’s all gone), then change the plugs and crank case oil. That’s it! Pretty easy huh?

It’s also a good idea to think about your water pump impellor, Mike does his every year, but most of you can get away with every two years unless you aren’t discharging water from the tell tale or it is a weak stream.

Mike changes his every year, you should do it every other year unless you run like Mike.
Mike changes his every year, you should do it every other year unless you run like Mike.

Take good care of your outboard and it will give you years of trouble free operation keeping you a very happy camper indeed.

Storing Your Inflatable Boat For The Winter

This time of year I get quite a few calls about storing inflatable boats for the winter season. “Should I leave it inflated, or deflated?”, is probably the most popular so lets start there.

Stowing Your Boat Deflated

If you are going to roll up and store your boat for the winter make sure you keep it off of the floor in your garage. It’s that one mouse you didn’t know you had that’s going to chew holes into it and make it a winter cache or nest. Do make sure your inflatable boat is clean and dry before you roll it up and stick it in it’s bag for several months. If it’s not clean and dry you will have a science experiment on your hands when you unroll it in the spring. The ocean, pond, river or lake included micro-organisms in it’s water that love a dark moist place, don’t make it easy for them. Don’t leave your inflatable boat outside rolled up against the house or you will likely get the science experiment, the mouse holes, and the spiders/ bugs all rolled into a giant spring roll of nightmares when you go to use it.

Don’t leave your boat out in the shed to die, or it likely will. Out of sight out of mind right? I get this call all the time, ” I bought a boat from you a year ago and when I unrolled it the attachments were coming off, is this under warranty?”. Short answer probably not. Typically when I look up the deal  the customer bought it ten years ago and left it to die in his/her shed until someone said “boat” and triggered a memory. A lot of the time they thought they were calling someone else and that short answer sounds like, “I don’t sell insert non-Zodiac brand   here.” Your tin shed can get hotter than Hades in the summer time and colder than the Moon in winter time. Put ten years of that abuse and neglect to any boat, inflatable or otherwise, and you will encounter problems. Keep your investment shipshape by storing it in a house closet or in the garage off the floor and be a happy camper in the spring.

Stowing Your Boat Inflated

This one is hard for some people to figure out for some reason? If you are going to leave your inflatable boat inflated for the winter you better be prepared to kick some air into it once in awhile with your foot pump. Keep it full and firm and problem free.

Listen, air leaks out of a SCUBA tank or welding tank, balloon, etc. It’s air, don’t you remember anything from 2nd grade about air, or at the very least that balloon you tried to save when you were a kid? If you leave your inflatable boat rigged with a motor on a trailer for months of unseen neglect don’t call me in a frantic state on the first nice day to complain that your transom ripped off. (are you reading this volunteer fire dept.s across the country?) Yes it will happen, as the air leaks out the strain on the after tubes becomes non-conducive to a glued joint and it’s longevity. “I left my boat half inflated leaning against the wall and now it has holes in it”. This one sentence says it all in two words, half inflated. If you are going to snag on something believe it’s because there’s not enough air in the boat to keep it rigid and smooth. The guys/gals who are storing their boats this way are asking for a mouse hole or messed up attachments. The inflatable boat gets it’s strength from the air inside of it’s tubes, when you let half of it out you strain the system. It’s like bleeding a warrior of half of his blood then sending him into battle. It just doesn’t work. By far this storage scenario is one of the worst for the dreaded mouse hole problems. When you lean it up against a wall you put it directly in the path of the mice you didn’t think you had, and letting half of the air out only makes it possible for them to chew on it. Hey don’t believe me and IBC’s 40+ years of doing these repairs every single spring, find out for yourself, but don’t complain to me when it’s opening day and we are backed up for weeks with Fire Dept. Rescue Boats. Instead of the half inflated scenario just clean it and roll it up like above paragraphs or keep it full and firm. No one likes a floppy dinghy!

Of you are trailering your boat check it frequently throughout the winter, cover it with a good cover like Carver or Sunbrella and kick air into it when it needs it. Done!

I write this story with snow dumping outside the shop door before I go kick some air into my Bombard C4 Commando. Yes I’m going out tonight and probably in the morning too! I currently use my inflatable boat year round but I’ve stored it for years and years without a problem because I just followed the advice above.



Save Big on Bombard!

The clock is ticking on our Bombard Anniversary Sale! Act now for extra savings on Bombard Inflatable Boats.

Bombard Commando C-4R Load Out
Bombard Commando C-4R Load Out

Models like the indefatigable Bombard Commando Series, or the Typhoon series including the Zodiac Fish N Hunt! Help us commemorate Dr Bombard’s unbelievable Atlantic Ocean crossing in a prototype boat dubbed ” The Heretic” built to his spec by Zodiac. Considered the father of modern inflatable boat design, survival at sea, and the inventor of the inflatable life raft. It was Dr Bombard that introduced Jacques-Yves Cousteau to the world of inflatable boats for his missions as an explorer, conservationist, and film maker.

Inflatable Boat Center is the West Coast Exclusive Dealer for the Bombard Commando Series.


To read Dr Bombard’s full story purchase his books in English

  • The Voyage of the Heretique, Simon and Schuster (1953)
  • The Bombard Story (1955)
  • Dr. Bombard Goes to Sea (1957)

Thursten County Dive Rescue Gets Ready For Another Year

Thurston County Sheriff Department’s Dive Rescue brought in one of their Zodiac FC470 Dive Rescue Boats for a little repair work in between their grueling rescue schedule and patrol duties. IBC quickly turned around the repair and got the sheriff’s department back out on the water in double time fashion

Thursten County Sheriff Dive Rescue Team scores excellent service at IBC
Thurston County Sheriff Dive Rescue Team scores excellent service at IBC

This time of year when fire and police rescue teams are looking forward to their next rotation, boat upkeep should be a priority. If your dept. hasn’t put a plan in place it’s time to do so before it’s too late. Get your service done before you’re back on patrol. Winter is the best time to service your boats and motors, don’t be like Joe Waitstulong and expect 1 day service and turn around in the spring or summer. It’s not going to happen pal.

Get it done now and enjoy a full worry free season on the water. If you’re a recreational boater the same thing applies to you! The military guys know the score which is why you’ll see the special forces as well as the Coast Guard, Navy etc. come through our doors so regularly in the winter time. Take a lesson from the pros and get old floppy taken care of and ship shape for when you need it.