Fall boating question:

Vikingstaff

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As many know, we keep our Bennington lakeside at our cottage. We are located in the center of the northern lower peninsula of Michigan: Houghton Lake.

In the past due to the lake levels, our shoreline depth, and our old boat lift, we’ve always had it put it into indoor winter storage at the end of Labor Day weekend. With our Sea Legs now, we can keep it out in the water longer into fall.

Due to overnight temperatures, and concerns with freezing, how late into fall is safe for keeping the boat in the water on the lake? We will be up two more weekends after Labor Day that we are considering. Options are either Sunday, September 22nd, or Monday, October 14th. We otherwise wont be back up until the end of October or early November due to our schedules.

If you know our area of Michigan, do you think keeping it in the water until October 14th is pushing it with overnight temperatures? Do you think we risk any overnight freezing and motor damage?

Since we have a 4 day weekend October 11-14th, we thought it would be awesome to have it on the water with fall colors. However, I’m concerned it is pushing it seasonally with overnight temps and the safer route is just putting it into storage on that September 22nd date. Am I being too worried, and we’d be fine either way?
 

Joeb14

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If you trim the motor down, all the water should run out, so you shouldn’t run a risk of the engine freezing.
I have a lake camp, and typically pull the boat by October 1, mainly because I don’t want to be doing it in cold, wet weather.
 

Economy Mike

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I kept my last pontoon at the marina year-round, prop down for 15 years...never the first problem. And I will do the same with this new one. Granted, it's not as cold here at the TN-MS-AL junction as where you are, but we have had some single-digit temps during that time. All of my marina neighbors do the same thing, and I have never heard of the first case of outboard damage. I did hear of a guy who left his prop up. Water froze in the hub and he had a repair on his hands.
 

Vikingstaff

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Thanks!

Due to marina’s closing up, and lack of predictably decent boating weather, we are going to put her into winter storage at the end of September instead of pushing into mid-October. I appreciate the comments above, because they at least verified for me that the issue would not be the motor and anticipated weather. It also got me thinking more about boating conditions and putting it away for winter. Finding out easy access to marina gas would be done by mid to late September was the final variable in making the decision.

Looks like we’ll have one more weekend on the water in late September. I am very thankful I was able to boat more than I anticipated this year. Hoping for a wonderful 2020 summer!
 

Michiman

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Jeff, with the average temperature for HL in October being 58/36, I'd say you're making the right decision. IMO, the chances of having nice boating weather on a specific weekend might not be worth betting on. I do think the chances of your engine freezing during that period of time are pretty low.
 

Tomc

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I’ve had a couple years with another boat with I/O that for various reasons I could not get out until mid October up on Burt Lake. Boat was fine, but I couldn’t wait any longer as my hoist dude was making his last pass to take out the hoists, and we have a sea wall so cannot do it ourselves. Very Cold, windy, waves and rain both times was so miserable I’d say never again. And each of those years we saw one good weekend of September weather (beyond that first weekend of Sept) that was good for boating. So for us not worth the aggravation for only one more good weekend. Typically I’m taking it out the second or third weekend of September but this year it will be last weekend of Sept...and if really bad weather we’ll have the option to push back a week. Not concerned all that much about freezing, just my own (did I mention my wife enjoying the cold, wind and rain?) comfort level. So +1 on your decision of end of Sept.
 
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