6 Winter Preparation Tips For Boating Season

6 Winter Preparation Tips For Boating Season

When the weather gets colder, boating is probably one of the least fun hobbies. Who really wants to be boating when the frigid wind blowing in your face? Before you put your boat up for the winter season, you will want to protect your boat from winter’s chill with these 6 winter preparation tips.

Clean And Wax Your Boat

Rust is a boats nemesis and winter is the perfect time for it to ravage your boat. When you take the boat out of the water for the season, it is the perfect time to give it thorough cleaning.

Make sure you take special care for the parts under the boat and make sure any traces of salt water have been washed away. You can either do this by hand or use a pressure washer.

Waxing your boat.

You will want to make sure there aren’t any barnacles and the like growing on the rudders, props, shafts, or struts. Clean the topsides, deck and lower unit. Make sure you give the deck a good waxing and if there are any blisters on the boat, you’ll want to sand, paint, and wax them.

Fluids To Add, Change, Or Flush

There will be some systems on the boat that will need to be flushed, while there will be some that will need to be changed or added. Your cooling system, for example, should be flushed with warm, fresh water so that there isn’t any salt, debris, or corrosion.

You’ll want to top off your fuel so that there isn’t any condensation accumulating in the tank during the winter storage. You will want to change the fuel filter before storing your boat, but also add a marine fuel stabilizer to reduce any buildup of gum or varnish.

Check Electrical Systems

Check any electrical systems and appliances on your boat to ensure they are all working properly. If you need to, you can make those repairs. However, you can wait until spring if you really need to.

Check And Disconnect The Battery

If your boat uses a battery, you’ll want to make sure it is fully charged. You will then want to unhook the battery cables, beginning with the negative cable.

You will want to clean each terminal with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda and one cup of warm water. Some people remove the battery entirely and storing it indoors if you live in a location that has exceptionally cold weather.

Use Engine Fogging Oil

Try turning your engine over without actually starting it. While it is turning over, spray some fogging oil into the carburetor or in the holes for the spark plugs. This is going to protect the moving parts in your engine from freezing during the winter.

Engine fogging oils in a row.

Make Sure Everything Is Dry

There are going to be some parts of your boat that will need to be drained because any moisture can cause corrosion during the winter. You will want to:

  • Drain the gear case and check for any signs of water intrusion. This will make the gear oil to have a milky cast. If there is any moisture, this could be a sign of leaking seals that will need to be repaired.
  • If you have a fresh water tank, you will want to completely drain the tank and the hot water heater.
  • Open the seacocks to let any water inside drain out.
  • Remove any water from the engine.
  • Check the bilges to remove any standing water, clean up any debris or oil.

Clean up any dry lockers, living spaces, storage spaces, and fish holds. You’ll want to open and clean out the refrigerator. Remove any cushions and linens and wash them well so no mildew forms. Use a commercial grade moisture absorber to prevent mold and mildew from forming while the boat is in storage.


When boating season ends, it can be a drag – especially when you have to put the boat away for the season. When you take time to properly winterize your boat, you’ll be able to enjoy the boat again next spring!