After a long summer of boating fun, boaters across the country are preparing their boats for their yearly hibernation. Taking the extra steps will not only protect the boat but will ensure an easier, stress-free launch come springtime!
BoatU.S. has compiled a complete playlist of articles, videos and checklists you need to ensure that your boat is safe. In a nutshell, winterizing means storing your boat properly, making sure engines and are protected, and the plumbing is freeze-proof.
- Storage: This is the starting point for any winterizing plan. Storing a boat in a climate-controlled indoor facility is, of course, the best option. However, you can also choose to store your boat outside on land or in the water. A boat stored ashore needs to be properly supported with a jackstand, custom-made cradle, storage rack or a trailer. If you choose to keep your boat in the water, ensure all thru-hulls are closed except for the cockpit drains. Additionally, make sure the boat is tied so strong winds can't bang it against the dock. Whether ashore or in the water, a well-fitting cover will prevent the cockpit from filling with water or ice during winter storms.
- Drain: Remove water from all parts of the boat, including the sea strainer, engine blocks, air conditioning and plumbing systems. Add antifreeze into the bilge, keel and water tanks to prevent freezing.
- Engine: Flush the engine with freshwater to remove dirt and corrosion. Refill the coolant system with antifreeze. If you decide to fill your tank, be sure to add a fuel stabilizer and change fuel filters.
- Battery: Remove and charge the battery. Store it in a warm and dry place until it’s time to place it back in spring.
- Clean: Remove all movable items from your vessel like electronics, clothing, fishing gear, lifejackets and fire extinguishers. Scrub-clean the boat – from the hull to the interior.
Because boats and engines differ, don’t forget to check your owner’s manual for any special instructions. The task of winterizing may take some know-how and effort, but the end result – a healthy boat – will certainly prove worthwhile!