It will not be too long before we start seeing sunny days and warmer weather. When those conditions appear, lots of boaters will be on the water, with many making their first trip of the year. A large number of those anglers will experience problems caused by their boat setting up so long.

Every year, problems occur with engines and other equipment that have been dormant for weeks. This year, the problem is likely to be more severe, as the cold weather has kept boaters off the water for a longer time and we had freezes with which to deal.

All of this will take its toll on batteries, water pumps, both in the engines and on other equipment such as bait wells. Gasoline that has been stored too long, especially when untreated with stabilizers during that period, can be a big problem.

There are several other potential problems that could occur and, with all of these facing boaters, there are a few recommendations that could help you avoid problems before you get to the water for the first time.

Fuel is probably the biggest problem. If your fuel has been in the tank for more than say six weeks, add fresh fuel and stabilizers, even if you treated the fuel at the end of the season.

Before heading to the launching ramp, try cranking your engine. If it fails to turn over, the battery likely needs charging or replacing.

Using a flushing device or the motor’s built-in flushing system, connect a garden hose and crank the engine. Allow it to run for several minutes and if everything sounds normal, then head out.

Check the water lines going to your bait wells and wash downs. Often small pockets of water trapped in the lines can freeze and cause the lines to break.

A visit to your boat mechanic for a spring checkup would be the best line of defense to ensure an enjoyable fishing season.

Capt. Joe Kent is a columnist for The Daily News. Report your catch to or call 409-683-5273.

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