How to Winterize Your Boat

It’s always a sad day when the boating season comes to an end, and the process of winterizing your boat is sure to bring a frown to every boater’s face. But while winterizing your boat might be a joyless task, it’s an important part of being a boat owner. If you take the time to properly winterize your vessel, it’ll be that much quicker and easier to launch your boat next spring. Here are a few tips to help you winterize your boat the right way.

  • Care for your engine. Check that your belts and hoses are in good condition and replace them if necessary. When you fill your fuel tank, leave some room for the fuel to expand. Add gasoline stabilizer, then change your oil and fill your engine block with antifreeze. You should also remove your battery and store it indoors.
  • Check your prop. Make sure your boat’s propeller is in good shape. Inspect it for any wear or dented blades, then make any repairs or replacements.
  • Protect your boat’s plumbing. Your boat’s hoses and lines can crack or burst if water in them freezes and expands over the winter. After you pump out your head and flush it with water, add antifreeze through the intake lines, discharge hose, macerator and y-valve. Also, drain your fresh water tanks and hot water heater, then pump non-toxic antifreeze into your tanks and plumbing.
  • Clean your boat. Remove and wash any cushions, pots and pans, and linens. Also, remove your fire extinguishers and check that they are still in good working order. Then scrub your boat’s interior, wiping down cabinets, cleaning carpets and more.
  • Use a boat cover. Always cover your boat during the winter, even when storing it in a heated, indoor facility. Covering your boat keeps dirt, dust, grime and rodents from getting on or in your boat.