How to Winterize a Boat

boat on a lake

The boat needs a lot of gentle and loving care, even when it's out of the water for the winter. Proper care of your boat can be very cost-effective in the long run, because you will avoid having to pay for expensive repairs like broken exhaust manifolds, or worse yet, an engine replacement. Even with the boat insured, these repairs can be costly.

Use the following tips to seal your boat until spring. We've highlighted the most important ones, and have included a checklist for winter on the boat below.

1. Add Fuel Stabilizers

There are a variety of opinions about how much fuel to leave in your boat's tank during the winter. One thing everyone can agree on, though, is the importance of the fuel stabilizer. Since the introduction of ethanol fuel, storing a boat during the winter has become a battle against fuel separation. If ethanol fuel comes into contact with water (which is likely in a water pan) it can separate, leaving a sticky, glue-like substance at the bottom of the engine. This substance can damage the entire fuel system, so the best way to deal with it is to prevent it.

Add a fuel balancer to the tank, using the manufacturer's recommended winterizing solution. Then run the boat to the correct temperature and check for leaks or other issues.

2. Change engine oil and fuel filters

Change gears and engine oil as well as oil and fuel filters. Fresh liquids hold up better compared to the winter months, and go a long way to prevent damage caused by condensation.

Read Also  How to Take a Small Business Vacation

3. Drain lines

Drain water from the engine block, exhaust system, sea pump, hoses and coolant – especially if you don't have access to a storage facility warm. Run the engine while it is connected to the antifreeze pump until the antifreeze fills the entire system and exits the exhaust. The goal is to eliminate any water trapped in the system. If trapped water freezes over the winter, it can expand hard enough to break the steel components of your boat.

4. Unplug the batteries

Disconnecting the battery prevents it from dying during the winter, ensuring that the boat will be ready for a quick start in the spring. It also comes with the added bonus of helping the batteries last longer – an advantage since marine batteries tend to cost more than their dryland counterparts.

5. Spray the fog oil

Spray the engine and outdrive assembly with anti-corrosion spray, also known as fog oil. This preserves the paint and prepares the components for a long period of little use.

6. STORAGE SAFELY

If your budget allows, the best place to store the boat is in a heated indoor storage area. If you are storing your boat outdoors, be sure to have a sturdy tarpaulin covering over the boat all winter long. If you decide to stock your boat, make sure it is properly prepared to return to the water once winter is over. Before your first ride next spring, be sure to:

      Check the fuel system for any leaks or damage

      • Make sure the belts are tight and the control cables are free of cracks
      • Check for wear and remove the wear with a wire brush

      • Check the oil and replace any fluids that were not changed when the boat was winter-ready
        • Find places in which the outer surface of the boat has been compromised by blows, dents, cracks or disfigurement

        Ultimately, you will appreciate taking all these steps when it rises Weather and time to get to the water. And your boat will be there for many springs to come if it is properly cared for each winter. When it's time to board your boat, be sure to prepare yourself, your passengers, and your boat with these boat safety guidelines.

        boat-winterizing-checklist-infographic-image_page_1

        boat-winterizing-checklist-infographic-image_page_2

        It is important to protect your boat during the winter season. Learn how to winterize your boat with these tips.

      • Addition of fuel stabilizers

      • Add the fuel stabilizer to the tank using the factory recommended winterizing solution. Then run the boat to the correct temperature and check for leaks or other problems.

      • Changing engine oil and fuel filters

      • Change gears, engine oil as well as oil and fuel filters. Fresh liquids hold up better compared to the winter months, and go a long way to prevent damage caused by condensation.

      • Water Drain Lines

        Drain Water from the engine block, exhaust system, sea pump, hoses and coolant – especially if you do not have access to a warm storage facility. Run the engine while it is connected to the antifreeze pump until the antifreeze fills the entire system and exits the exhaust. The goal is to eliminate any water trapped in the system.

      • boat-winterizing-checklist-infographic-image_page_2 Disconnect the batteries

        Disconnecting the battery keeps it from dying during the winter, ensuring that the boat will be ready for a quick start in the spring. It also comes with the added bonus of helping the batteries last longer – an advantage since marine batteries tend to cost more than their dryland counterparts.

      • Spraying fogging oil

      • Spray the engine and outdrive package with anti-corrosion spray, also known as fog oil. This preserves the paint and prepares the components for a long period of little use.

      • STORAGE SAFELY

        If your budget allows, the best place to store the boat is in a heated indoor storage area. If you are storing your boat outdoors, be sure to have a sturdy tarpaulin covering over the boat all winter long. If you decide to stock your boat, make sure it is properly prepared to return to the water once winter is over.