How To Winterize Your Boat

Learning how to winterize your boat can save you money every year. In addition to saving money, learning how to winterize your boat is a great experience for any dedicated boat owner. It is not particularly difficult to learn how to winterize your boat and you probably already have the experience necessary as a boat owner. It is vital to winterize your boat properly to prevent damage to your boat during the four to six months in which it will be enduring harsh winter weather. Boats are generally designed to withstand the harsh climate of the summer but they are not equipped for the elements of the winter months.

  1. Inspect the hull. Carefully inspect the hull for any structure damage. Check for gelcoat blisters in the hull. Repair any damage you find around the hull or contact a qualified specialist to repair the damage for you.
  2. Clean the hull. Scrape any barnacles and other sea-buildup off the hull. Sand any remaining sea buildup from the hull and carefully sand down anything that remains.
  3. Protect the electronics. Remove any on-board electronics that you can such as a fish finder, navigation system, radio, etc. Store these electronics in a safe place. Spray the wiring for any remaining or non-removable electronics with moisture-displacing lubricant to prevent damage to wires and future problems with the electronics.
  4. Clean the interior. Clean the interior part of boat. Wash down the decks, vacuum and wash everything. Clean any carpets on your boat. It is important to clean the boat well to ensure that you winterize your boat properly.
  5. Prepare boat plumbing. Drain all the on-board boat plumbing. Pump all the on-board boat plumbing with anti-freeze.
  6. Apply your boat cover and frame. Apply the frame first and then apply the boat cover. Consider using either a polytarp cover or a polyvinyl cover for best protection from the weight of the snow and moisture.
  7. Winterize your boat motor. Follow the instructions to winterize your boat motor found in the motors owner manual. The process to winterize a boat motor varies greatly between motor brands. Typically when winterizing the motor you will need to add fuel stabilizer and flogging oil to the motor.

Tips:

  • Carefully read the manual for the motor to perform the proper steps to the motor when you winterize your boat.
  • Consider adding a product to the hull such as 3M Wax Paste before taking your boat out again, it will make it easier to winterize your boat the following year.