There are a few basic steps to winterizing your boat. You'll want to make sure all of the water is drained from the engine, and also make sure you "fog" the engine with fogging spray.
As the weather gets colder, it's time to start thinking about how to winterize your boat. Winterizing your boat is important to prolonging your boat's life and preventing costly repairs down the road. In this post, we'll go over some of the best ways to winterize your boat, your boat motor and your boat trailer.
Boat winterization can be pretty simple, but it's important to follow instructions carefully. If you don't have experience with boat maintenance, seek the advice of a boat mechanic or friend with knowledge of the process. Additionally, it's important to consult the owner's manual to understand how to winterize the boat correctly. Winterizing a boat properly can prevent costly repairs, or even a costly engine replacement.
Boat Maintenance in the Fall
Before we get into how to winterize your boat, let's talk about some fall maintenance tasks that you should do to prepare your boat for winter. First, you'll want to give your boat a good thorough cleaning. This will help remove any dirt, grime or salt buildup that could cause problems during the winter months. Next, you'll want to inspect all of your hoses and fittings for any cracks or leaks. Replace any hoses or fittings that are showing signs of wear and tear.
Finally, you'll want to change the oil in your boat motor and add fresh fuel to your gas tank. And on top of this, it's always a good idea to add a can of fuel stabilizer to the tank when you fill it. These fall maintenance tasks will help ensure that your boat is ready for winter.
How to Winterize Your Boat
Protect your boat's exterior with a fiberglass wax coat, as a protective coating while your boat waits for spring. It's not mandatory, but it serves as an extra layer to prevent dirt and grime from sticking. And in the spring, a good wipe down with a soft cloth, and your hull is clean and ready to go. This will help prevent scuffs and other types of deterioration due to dirt, algae, and excessive moisture.
Electronics should be removed from your boat and kept in an indoor space, such as a garage. This is also a good time to clean the screen of your marine electronics. Saltwater will build up on the screen, so you can use a microfiber cloth to remove it. You can even use bottled water to clean the screen if you have a problem.
How to Winterize Your Boat Motor
The first thing you need to do of course is give the motor a good freshwater flush. You'll need a hose and running water, and if you can't thread the hose directly into the engine's intake, use a set of ear muffs to mount on either side of the intakes. Turn on the water and start the engine and let it run for about 5 minutes to flush out any saltwater or dirty lake water.
In the case of an inboard/outboard, I then usually start by disconnecting the hoses and letting them drain out. Then the other important step is to open the petcock on the engine block and drain the water from the block. This is a critical step as water left in the engine block can either freeze and blow out the freeze plugs on the block, or freeze and actually crack the block. I don't have to emphasize that a cracked block is a real problem, so make sure you drain it thoroughly.
The next step is to fog the engine. To fog an engine, first remove the air filter and spark plugs. Spray a bit of fogging spray into each cylinder before storage to prevent corrosion. When your boat is stored and inactive, temperature changes can allow water vapor to form inside the engine, which can be corrosive to the engine components. The cylinders can also dry out if the boat is stored for a long time, which can create damage when the engine is started in the spring. Fogging the cylinders prevents this from happening.
Winterizing an Outboard Motor
For an outboard motor, just like the inboard/outboard motor, you'll want to give your motor a good freshwater flush, with the same process described above.
Next remove the cover to look inside to see if any salt buildup has accumulated, which can lead towards corrosion.
Then give your engine a fresh oil and oil filter change. Even if you've changed the oil in the same season, an oil change should be part of your winterizing process.
Use the engine tilt to tilt the motor up to make sure all excess water drains, and then tilt the motor down to be sure all the water drains.
Then make sure all parts are clean and dry before replacing the cover.
If you're using lead-acid batteries, you'll also want to disconnect and drain them so that they don't freeze and crack during the winter. Lithium-ion batteries don't generally experience the steady loss of energy that traditional batteries do, so these can be stored without the same worry that you'd have with lead acid types.
How to Winterize Your Boat Trailer
If you have a trailer for your boat, there are a few things you'll need to do in order to winterize it properly. First, make sure you clean off any dirt or grime so that it doesn't corrode during the offseason. Next, check all of the bolts and screws on the trailer for any signs of wear and tear. Replace any parts that are showing signs of wear and tear. Additionally, grease all of the moving parts on the trailer so that they don't rust during the offseason.
Cover Your Boat With A Good Rough Grade Tarp
Finally, make sure you cover your boat with a tarp or storage cover so that it's protected from the elements during the winter months. And, you'll need to use a tarp especially if you store your boat for the winter in barn on a friend's farm property. Ask us how we know this? There are flying critters that winter in barns, and these critters drop presents everywhere. Use a rough grade tarp over your boat cover to protect it from deposits.
How To Winterize Your Boat - The Last Cast
For those of us in the northern climates, the fall months are a good time to start thinking about how to winterize your boat. Winterizing your boat is important to prolonging the boat's life, and preventing costly repairs down the road. Luckily, it's not as difficult as it may seem. By following these simple steps, you can rest assured that your boat will be ready for next season.
Cheers to the great outdoors,
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