When the seasons change, our boats get on the water less and less. Leaving your boat out in the open during the off-season can cause major harm that’ll cost you a lot of money when it comes to getting things back in shape.
Winterizing your boat is the best way to protect your boat from the cold and damage that sitting still can cause. Beyond using a winterization and anti-corrosion solution on the exterior, we’ve got seven more things for you to consider this fall.
1. Give It a Quick Clean
Clean boats store better, smell better, and live longer. When you’re putting your baby away for the winter, give it a complete wash from top to bottom and the deck too. Don’t skimp on the hardware or trim, where hidden dirt and mildew can collect. This also lets you look for problems which can be repaired during the winter and give your boat time to heal.
2. Check Those Pumps
Black water, grey water, and fresh water marine pumps should all be cleaned and inspected. Flush the system and look for leaks, plus test your output to make sure you have the right strength for the size of your boat. Winter is the perfect time to remove your pump and have it serviced to keep it running like new.
3. Prep Your Cooling System
One of the most common causes of problems when getting your boat back on the water is the cooling system, especially if you use raw water systems. Make sure to thoroughly flush your entire cooling system and engine with fresh water to get rid of any salt or corrosion build-up. For those of you in colder climates, be sure to add anti-freeze to the system – whether that’s adding to the water pump or right in the cylinder block. If you’ve got an outboard motor, make sure all water is drained from your engine.
4. Take Care of Your Engine
We also recommend giving your engine a good cleaning and there are a lot of great cleaners and aerosols out there for just about any engine. Take the time to remove carbon deposits and gunk buildups on the engine, combustion chambers, pistons, intake port valves, and rings. Your best bet is to follow up with an oil that’s designed to sit in your engine and keep rust and corrosion at bay.
5. Strip It Down and Prep
Putting your boat away means putting all of your other toys away too. Remove everything you can from lifejackets and fire extinguishers to ropes, fishing poles, and extra food. The more you remove, the fewer things there are that can leak, drip, or cause problems. Some people also remove radars, GPS devices, and entertainment equipment to make their boats a less appealing target for thieves.
After you’ve taken out all of these small things, we recommend you do a second sweep and look at smaller systems. Make sure they’re in proper working order. You can also apply moisture-displacing lubricants to any moving metal pieces and grease trailer wheel bearings too.
6. One Last Wipe
Moisture and gunk can do significant damage to your boat if they’re sitting on it for months undisturbed. Protect your boat by wiping everything down and removing standing water wherever it lies. You’ll especially want to check bilges where water likes to collect. We recommend tossing in a few moisture absorbers to keep mildew and mold away too, that way you come back to a boat that looks and smells great.
7. Cover It Up
The final piece of the puzzle is storing your boat properly. Look for a location that’s easy to lock and monitor that can keep the moisture out. This can mean renting a climate-controlled facility offsite or if you have a big enough location to lock your boat up. Add a cover for any boats stored inside or outdoors too. These precautions will help keep your boat out of the worst winter weather and make it easy for you to get back out on the water as soon as things warm up again.