How to winterize your boat

Winter is here, and that means it's time to get busy winterizing your boat for self storage! But before you do, it's best to do it right and make sure you do everything to minimize your spring maintenance when the water beckons once again. Boat storage is not as simple a thing as putting those shorts and tee-shirts in a drawer for a few months, so follow these tips for best results.

1. Clean the inside

This is more for peace of mind and lowered stress than actually protecting your boat. It's not much different than cleaning your house before you go away on a vacation. It's no fun to come home and have to clean the house, and it's no fun to bring the boat out in the spring and have to clean it well before you can even use it. Just do it now so that when the warm weather comes you can get right to it!

2. Clean the outside

Imagine eating a bowl of chili, then setting the bowl in the sink to clean tomorrow. You'll really have to work to get it clean at that point. All the grit and grime on the exterior of your boat from being in the water all season is like that chili. Cleaning it off before putting the boat in a self storage facility is much easier than scraping it off in the spring. Plus it could do damage in the meantime. Make sure you wax it too, to help prevent any corrosion from forming.

3. Drain the water

Drain both the engine and the lower unit of any water. This shouldn't need much explaining. Sitting water anywhere is a bad thing all around. You can watch this video on how to winterize your diesel sailboat engine 

4. Change the oil

Water and acids that may have gotten into the oil can corrode your engine. Change your filter, drain everything, and add new oil to keep things in good shape through the winter months.

5. Fill the gas tank

An empty tank invites condensation to build up, which can corrode the tank or cause even worse problems if it freezes. Put fuel stabilizer in to keep the fuel from going bad while you are away.

6. Remove the battery

Protect your battery by removing it and putting it in storage. It's also best to top it off with distilled water if needed and charge it a few times over the winter to keep it from draining completely.

7. Cover it up

Even if you are storing your boat indoors, make sure it's covered to keep dirt, dust, grime, and moisture off of it.

Bonus Tip for Inboard Motors

If you have an inboard motor with larger exhaust ports, seal them off with duct tape to keep bugs and pests from crawling up them and into your engine.

Published on: Mon, 15 Jul, 2019

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