Winter is just around the corner, which means it’s that time of year again when the question about how to winterize a boat comes up, as boat owners take steps to ensure their craft survives the off-season.
If you don’t plan on spending the colder weeks somewhere a little less chilly, making sure that your boat is in the right condition to be stored is vital. Someone who fails to winterize a boat can end up with thousands of dollars in repairs, but preparing your boat before the winter gets tough can save you a lot.
How to winterize a boat? Here is a quick list of what you should look at before parking your boat for the winter:
One important thing to remember to do is to fog the engine cylinders. Aerosol fogging solutions cover the inside of your engine to prevent damage until boating weather returns. If you aren’t sure which solution will work best for your boat, check with your engine manufacturer. Without fogging the engine, corrosion can eat away at the engine, covering the cylinders, pistons, and rings with harsh muck that can damage the engine.
In addition, for inboards and stern-drives, it is important to drain the engine. By simply allowing the water to drain completely before winter, you can prevent water in the cooling chambers that can freeze, expand, and crack the blocks and manifolds of the engine. Damage from frozen water in the engine can be costly to repair.
Fuel and Oil
By doing a simple fuel treatment with a stabilizer, you can prevent your carburetors and fuel injectors from becoming clogged with varnish deposits that are damaging to fuel systems. Pennzoil Fuel Stabilizer, PRI-G, and Stabil are ideal options for fuel treatment. After adding it to the fuel, run the engine for 10 minutes or so to be sure stabilized fuel circulates throughout the engine.
Another important task is changing the oil to get rid of moisture and keep corrosion from damaging your boat. While it seems small, failing to change the oil can lead to loss of power, declining fuel economy, and even possible engine failure.
Clean & Polish the Exterior
Another way to encourage your boat to live longer is to pay attention to the exterior. Boats, especially those in saltwater, can experience some water damage. When the boat is pulled out of the water, it is important to clean the bottom to remove anything that might cause damage. Then, clean and buff the boat.
When you plan to winterize a boat, look for a product that will remove corrosion and improve pitting as well as will remove oxidation on boat covers.
The marine environment can be harsh! By preventing water deposits from building up, you will keep your boat running longer and looking great as seen in the before (left) and after (right) photos below.
In addition to taking care of your boat, it is important to find a safe place to store it for the winter. First, make sure to invest in a boat cover in order to protect the boat from winter weather or exposure to dirt, dust, grime, or moisture. After the boat is covered, storing it in the place that works best for your boat and your budget is important. There are pros and cons to storing the boat outside, on a dry rack, or in a storage unit, but exploring the possible storage solutions is crucial to keeping the boat safe during the winter.
While there are a variety of other things you can do to protect your boat, making sure to take of the engine, exterior, fluids, and storage plan is a simple checklist to help you jumpstart the winter preparation. The best way to start off the spring with an enjoyable boat trip is to take care of your boat in the cold weather.
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Polishing marine equipment can be a tedious job. You want your boat to have that clean, deep shine that it had when it was new. But the hours it takes to even get an inconsistent product can make it seem like polishing the boat isn’t worth the effort.
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