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Preparing Your Boat for the Winter


As a boat owner, your most crucial responsibility is to prepare your boat for the winter. If everything is done correctly, getting the boat ready for the water in the spring won’t take long at all. Taking the time to winterize your boat and engine correctly will save you money in the long run by preventing damage from freezing temperatures, corrosion, and extended periods of inactivity.

First, follow the product’s directions for adding fuel stabilizer and filling the boat’s gasoline tank, leaving little headroom. Condensation inside the fuel tank can cause corrosion and clogging, so make sure it’s always filled.

Shut off the fuel and tape over the exhaust vents in the hull. The fuel filter and the water separator should be changed.

Safeguarding Your Motor

Warm up the engine by running it for a while, then change the oil while it’s hot. By doing so, many of the oil’s contaminants can be removed. Get the oil filters replaced. Remove the old coolant from the engine block and manifolds, and replace it with antifreeze containing propylene glycol.

When a boat is not in use, the oil sinks to the bottom of the engine block, leaving the pistons and valves vulnerable to the corrosive effects of air, humidity, and other elements. Take off the spark plugs and put “fogging oil” into each cylinder’s carburetor to prevent this. Spark plugs should be changed out without the wires being reconnected.

Change out the old gear oil in the engine with new oil. Don’t just throw away your old oil; take it to a recycling facility.


Water must be flushed through outboard motors. Let the engine drain completely, and then scrub it with soap and water. Run the engine dry by removing the gasoline line. The carburetor must be emptied of petrol. Fill the cylinders with fogging oil. Lubricate the propeller shaft and threads with water-resistant lubricant, then use quality wax to buff the engine’s exterior. It’s time to swap out the lower unit’s gear oil.

Disconnect the batteries and keep your boat in dry storage at home if you plan on storing it dry during the off-season. The bilge pump on any boat in the water should remain operational by leaving the battery installed and charged. Ensure the boat’s battery is ultimately charged before removing it from the vessel. Inspect the water level occasionally and charge once every 30 days to a month when in storage.

Removing and securely storing any expensive marine electronics from the yacht for the winter is also a good idea to protect them from theft and environmental hazards. Lines, flotation devices, flares, fire extinguishers, and so on should all be checked for wear and tear and potential replacement as part of winterization.


Propeller and hub maintenance is also recommended at this time. Propeller performance is negatively impacted by bent or damaged blades. It’s also possible that the hub has worn out significantly. During winterization, you should replace the propeller and make any other necessary repairs if this kind of damage is visible.

Thoroughly clean

Scrub the boat from bow to stern. Dirt, slime, barnacles, and the like that accumulate on the exterior of your boat during storage will be much more difficult to remove in spring. Once the boat’s exterior has been cleaned, a good polish should be applied to the surfaces to prevent further soiling. Wood, vinyl, and carpeting should all be vacuumed and mopped.

You may prevent mildew from growing on your yacht using a dehumidifier or a moisture absorber. Place couches on end to allow air to flow around them, or take them off the boat entirely.

Wash out the bilges. (If your boat is going to be stored dry, you should take out the drain plugs and put them somewhere you can easily find them come springtime.) Antifreeze and a moisture-displacing lubricant should be sprayed into the bilges.

Clear Your Mind

Take it to a proper dump and have the holding tank emptied. Fill the basin with clean water and flush it often while you pump. Apply a safe cleaning for your system, let it sit for a few minutes, then flush it with fresh water. To prevent the coolant from freezing, add antifreeze and pump it via the system’s hoses, storage tank, Y-valve, macerator, and outlet hose. Before using an alcohol-based antifreeze, make sure it won’t cause any problems by consulting your vehicle’s manual.

Thanks for Holding Water

Please turn off the water heater and drain the freshwater tank. Turn off the water supply to the heater by splicing the inlet and outlet lines together. Turn on every faucet and shower until the non-toxic antifreeze begins to flow out. The water heater needs non-hazardous antifreeze.

Block it off.

The trailer tires can be spared some wear and tear throughout the winter if the boat is stored on blocks. Check for tire wear and general trailer damage. Lubricate and replace the wheel bearings.

Boats should be stored indoors if at all possible. A boat cover is necessary for outside storage. Usually, an 8- to 10-ounce canvas boat cover will do the trick. Even when docked, the boat should be covered to keep out debris like dirt, dust, pests, and bird poop. Shrink-wrapping the boat is an option for use in severe weather. Kits for self-construction can be found.

Chris Miley runs the websites Marine Diesel Secrets [http://www.marinedieselsecrets.com] and The Pontoon Boat Site, both of which contain advice on maintaining and winterizing marine diesel engines.

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