Winterize Your Boat

It doesn't take much to create unforgettable memories for families and friends when you have your boat out at the lake or in the ocean. Your boat is an important investment that must be winterized over the colder months when it isn't in use. If you are new to the boat ownership world or if you have relocated to a climate that sees cold winter months, learning how to properly winterize your boat will preserve the life of all the working parts of your boat.

Flush, Filter and Replace Fluids

Like with any car, your boat's motor oil needs regular attention. During the boating season, check your oil levels often to make sure you aren't running low. After a fun boating season, water can find its way into your oil. When left to sit for months at a time, the water can corrode the engine, causing permanent damage. During the off season, you need to drain the old oil, flush it out and replace with clean oil. After the oil has been replaced, remove the oil filter and replace with a clean one.

Your boat's coolant (anti-freeze) is much like the motor oil; it needs to be flushed and replaced at the end of the season. Follow the directions on the anti-freeze to meet the specifications of your particular boat. Flush and replace with clean anti-freeze.

If you aren't comfortable performing this maintenance yourself, hire a professional to do the work for you. It will cost you less in the long run than the repairs to fix the damaged parts.

Mechanic Maintenance

Once the fluids have been taken care of, there are several other maintenance precautions you should take to winterize your boat. Those include:

  • Covering exhaust ports - The number of ports you have will depend on the type of boat you have. Locate all exhaust ports (reference your owner's manual if you need help finding them). Cover them with tape or some kind of cap to keep pests from turning them into their winter home.
  • Remove belts - Tension belts should be loosened or removed to prevent drying and cracking while in storage.
  • Use fogging oil - This may require professional assistance to complete. Fogging oil prevents the engine from seizing during the winter months. Coat the engine internals thoroughly to protect them.
  • Disconnect the battery - Batteries will continue to discharge energy even when not in use. By disconnecting your battery, you'll put a stop to premature battery drain.
  • Use gasoline stabilizer - Condensation can accumulate in an empty gas tank. This condensation can freeze and damage the tank. Fill your gas tank completely and then top it off with a gas stabilizer to prevent condensation from forming.

Cosmetic Safeguards

Lastly, you'll need to protect and safeguard the interior and exterior of your boat. Thoroughly clean the interior to preserve any leather or other vulnerable surfaces. Remove any fabrics that can accumulate moisture to prevent mold and mildew from forming. Wash and wax the exterior and cover securely with a boat cover. Once this has been done, your boat is ready for storage!

Don't drop the ball on boat winterization this year. By following a few simple steps, you can protect the mechanical workings of your boat along with the interior and exterior. Once you have done this, your boat will be primed and ready to go at the start of the next boating season. For more information, contact Rick's Master Marine or a similar company.