Many of us camp with our boat in tow and it always pays off. Throughout North America, countless rivers, lakes and coasts beckon us to launch our craft for fishing and fun.
But no matter what kind of boat you have, you’ll have to undergo a bit of winterizing before the snow sets in. There are many steps to winterizing your boat, and you mustn’t overlook any.
Even if you use your boat during the winter months, you’ll want to have a winterizing procedure in mind and ensure that you’re prepared, so you don’t run into any costly damage.
Run through this guide and see if you’re following any or all of these steps!
Where Are You Storing Your Boat?
The first thing I want to talk about before winterizing is your storage choices. If you live close to the water near the shore, you likely have a lot of boat storage options. If you’re like me and you live a few hours away from the nearest coast, you’ll have a harder time finding reliable and safe boat storage.
How extensive you need to go into your winterizing often depends on where you keep your boat during the winter months. Let’s take a look at some of the options.
This solution is an excellent option for people who have it available. Stacked storage keeps your boat protected from several dangers, and some facilities are located in buildings that are heated to prevent freezing, so you don’t have to worry too much about winterization.
These facilities also handle all of the work of getting your boat onto the stack. The problem with this method is it’s expensive, you can’t get your boat whenever you want it, and some larger boats may not fit depending on the location.
Many people don’t realize that they can store their boats in a self-storage facility. This is more affordable than stacked storage, and you still get all the benefits of keeping your boat indoors. The main problem here is you’ll have to make sure you get a block big enough to fit the boat and not all self-storage locations will allow you to store a boat.
If you have a garage, why not put it to good use and keep your boat in there. That’s about as affordable as it gets, and you have complete control over everything. You can move the boat around when you want, you can take it out, and you still get all the protection from the harsh winter.
Something I like about storing a boat in the garage is that you don’t have to worry about vandals because you’ll have a close eye on it. When you store it in a facility, you’ll go long periods without seeing the boat, so you never know what could happen.
Without going too much further into detail, you can also wrap your boat and store it outside your home or at an outdoor storage facility. Many marine Powersports companies offer outdoor storage during the winter months. This is especially true if you don’t live near the ocean.
While storing your boat outside is not the best option, sometimes you need to for convenience and budgetary reasons.
Winterizing Your Boat: Checklist
Now let’s get into the checklist you should follow when winterizing your boat — you’ll find it’s a bit different than winterizing your RV. Once you’ve decided on the storage location, here are some of the things you’ll want to do to get it ready.
1. The Fuel System
Starting with the fuel system, you’ll need to treat it with a stabilizer. Any marine fuel stabilizer should do the trick. After you add it, run the engine for at least 10 minutes to make sure the stabilizer moves through the engine. Stabilizing the fuel prevents the injectors from getting clogged with varnish deposits.
2. The Boat Engine
There are a few different steps you’ll want to take with the engine. First, you want to fog it by purchasing a fogging solution. The engine manufacturer will recommend a product for their engine, and you’ll want to spray the solution directly into the air intake. Doing this prevents corrosion from building up inside the engine.
Next, change the oil and fill the engine block with antifreeze. This step prevents water from sitting and cracking the engine block if it freezes.
If you have an inboard or stern-drive motor, you’ll want to drain the water from the pump to prevent freezing and cracking.
3. The Water System
Next, let’s take a look at the water systems on your boat. First, drain the freshwater tank and lines. You’ll want to run antifreeze through these as well to prevent a cracked water tank. If you have a marine sanitation system in your boat, you’ll also want to drain it to prevent freezing in your boat.
Many experts recommend ventilating the boat during the winter to prevent mold and mildew buildup. The way you go about ventilating is your choice. If you’re wrapping the boat, you can get passive ventilators to help keep air moving through the boat, so it doesn’t get humid inside.
4. The Batteries
The worst thing you could forget is your battery. You don’t want to leave them in your boat all winter. You should have it on a trickle charger at home in your garage or basement. It’s essential to understand your specific battery so you can ensure you have the right trickle charger to keep it up and running.
5. The Cabin
While all the mechanical components of your boat are important, we can’t forget the cabin of the boat. I recommend going through a serious deep clean before the winter; that way, your boat is ready to go come springtime.
If there is anything you’ve been holding out on doing, you should also do it before the winter months. If there is something you’re looking to patch up, fix, or clean, do it now, so it doesn’t progress over the winter.
Consider organizing sections of the boat like compartments or lockers that got dirty over the summer. If you have a large boat with a lower cabin, you’ll also want to pay attention to any liquids you might leave behind. Things like lotions, aerosol cans, and even sodas could bust and leak, causing a sticky mess.
Take a proactive approach, and you’ll have a shiny boat ready for you when you uncover it next year.
It’s that time of year when we all retreat to our homes and hide away until the weather starts to turn again. Make sure you don’t forget about your pride and joy when it starts getting cold. Following all of these steps is the best way to ensure you don’t run into any costly repairs or messy mistakes.
I hope this guide was useful to you. Make sure you drop a comment and let me know any tips or tricks you have for winterizing your boat!