7 Boat Winterization Tips

Shorter days, colorful changes in the leaves, and cooler temperatures are all signs that the end of boating season is drawing near. We understand that while it’s slightly depressing, it’s essential to stay focused because properly winterizing your boat is crucial.     

In many areas of the country, you’ll want to winterize before those freezing temperatures set in, so it’s time to get busy. Even if you are lucky enough to use your boat all year long, some systems will still need extra attention. However, if you live in a region that enjoys all four seasons, you’ll want to dive into the process with a detailed checklist.   

Our experts at boatsforsale.com are here to help with a complete winterization guide. Keep reading for seven boat winterization tips.   

Boat Winterization
Proper boat inspection is crucial for the health of your boat and ensures everything keeps running smoothly when it’s time to get back on the water!

Start with the basics

Before you dig right into the boat winterization process, it’s important to prepare and plan.

Create a list and ensure you have everything you need. Deciding on an option for winter boat storage is another important step in preparing your boat for its long winter break. Other important things to consider include:

  • End-of-the-season repairs
  • Boat covers
  • Fuel treatments
  • Battery care
  • Cleaning and maintenance

Take one last voyage

Before you plan to do anything else, take your boat for one more trip.

Use this opportunity to enjoy your vessel one last time before seasons end, but while you’re out, make notes about the things that need to be repaired, replaced, or modified. Once the list is complete, use it to create a schedule of projects to work on during the quite fall and winter months.

Start unpacking

Unpack as much of your boating gear as possible.

Remove any dishes, old towels, coolers, and miscellaneous trash. Pull out your fire extinguishers, life jackets, and other safety gear so they can be inspected over the winter.

Get on deck

If any canvas needs repair, it is time to drop them off for restoration. Other essential items to be included on your list include:

  • Pull out your anchor and rinse the mud off the chain and rope.
  • Clean that gunk from the scuppers.
  • Lay your sails and lines out and wash them with warm soapy water. Ensure they are dry before you stow them for the winter.
  • Be sure to cover up that hole on the back of your boom where the birds seem to want to nest each spring.
Does the thought of boat winterization have you feeling drained? Find out how easy it is to sell with Boats for Sale, and check out our cash offer options as well!

Check the engine

Winterizing your engine and systems comes next.  

While different engines require different maintenance and winterization, let’s focus on the basics.  

  • Start by topping off your tanks and stabilizing your fuel.  
  • Change your engine oil and replace all the filters.  
  • Check the coolant in closed cooling systems for the proper degree of protection.  
  • Check the hoses, belts, and clamps.  
  • Clean your filters. 
  • Check with your local professionals about how to recycle your used oil, filters, and used coolant. These items don’t go into dumpsters! 

    Water tank insepction

    Completely drain your water heater and freshwater tanks.  

    You can add non-toxic antifreeze directly to your water tank and pump it through your hot and cold plumbing – don’t forget about the shower on the transom! Consider installing a siphon hose fitting just before your water pump and a water heater bypass loop to save time and antifreeze. 

      Final steps

      Sadly, your boat is almost ready to head into its winter slubmer.

      Finalize these steps, and you’re done!  

      • Open all thru-hulls, and check your strut, shaft, cutlass bearing, props, intake screens, and anodes.   
      • Check the hull for blisters.   
      • Change the gear lube in lower units.   
      • Clean and disconnect the batteries. Some boat owners remove the batteries to charge them home over the winter. Others ensure the batteries are fully charged before haul-out and leave them in the boat.   
      • Wash the deck and hull.   
      • Cover the exhaust and any holes to keep any unwelcome critters from getting in your boat. 

        By following these suggestions, you and your boat should be in good shape for the winter.

        Be sure to consult your owner’s manuals for the manufacturer’s recommendations on winterizing your boat and other systems. If you have not performed a boat winterization before, find a quality professional to do the job for you. 

        For more boat maintenance tips and important how-to’s, check out our blog and follow along on Facebook