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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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!