If you have yet to winterize your boat, or if you’re wondering whether or not you actually crossed off every winterizing task, we’re here to help. Much like Santa Claus himself, we frequently find ourselves making lists (and checking them twice… or more) to ensure we’ve done all of the to-dos.
Cross off all of these winterizing items, then sit back and enjoy the season until you’re on the water again.
- Fill your fuel tanks, and don’t forget the stabilizer, running the engine for about 10-15 minutes to make sure the stabilizer gets through the system. Make sure to leave enough room for expansion.
- The other option is to completely drain the tank
- Change fuel filters and separators
- Run the engine to warm it up, then change your oil, and oil filter
- Double-check freshwater cooling system for coolant levels and add as needed
- Run anti-freeze through your raw-water-cooling system (ensuring you use non-toxic propylene glycol)
Specific to Outboard(s)
- Flush and drain water from the motor
- Drain gear case and add lubricant
- Leaving them on board? Check for tight, corrosion-free connections and hook them up to a marine-appropriate charger, or leave them unplugged returning to charge fully once a month
- Removing them? Store in a cool, dry place on a trickle marine charger. Make sure the battery is fully charged before storing.
Below and On Deck
- Clean and dry bilges, and double check your pump operation while you’re at it
- Drain any systems using water, and add propylene glycol antifreeze
- Pump out the holding tank (be sure to add antifreeze to the head!)
- Clear out any garbage, food, beverages, or other pest attractants
- Bring your valuables home!
- Remove and store cushions, ideally in a low-humidity environment to avoid mildew
- Wash your boat, and make note of any damage that should be repaired before spring thaw
- Secure ports, hatches, and anything else with a lock
- If you’re storing in the water, close all seacocks except for the cockpit drains, and plug exhaust ports
- Check your dock lines, chafe guards, and fenders
- Tie off the tiller/steering wheel
- On land — invest in a high-quality cover, or professional shrink wrapping, ensuring adequate waterproofing and air circulation either way
- Check on your boat periodically or have someone check on it for you