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Boat Winterization

Mon 3rd Nov 2014

Take Time to Protect your Boat/PWC in Winter Time

Now that the boating season is over it is time to start thinking about protecting your valuable Boat/PWC. The time and effort you spend now will have a big effect on your boat's performance and certainly save you time, effort and money come spring. The best place for your boat to be during the winter is out of the water, under cover, in boat storage. Your first step in winterizing should be to make a checklist of all items that need to be accomplished. Check the owner's manual of your boat and motor for manufacturer's recommendations on winterization.

Boat Winterization Checklist

1. Outboard Engine(s)

Flush engine with fresh water using engine flusher muffs or similar device. Let all water drain from the engine. When the engine is warm you should also drain and change the engine oil. Wash engine down with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Disconnect fuel hose and run engine until it stops. Use fogging oil in the cylinders to lubricate the cylinder walls and pistons. Change the gear oil in the lower unit and always replace the gaskets on the drain and level gearbox bungs. Lightly lubricate the exterior of the engine with corrosion block, this will stop corrosion during the winter and next season.

2. Inboard Engine(s)

You should run the engine(s). When the engine is warm you should drain and change the oil and filter (S). Flush the engine(s) with fresh water. You should circulate antifreeze through the manifold by using a pickup hose from the waterpump to a bucket of antifreeze. Start the engine and allow the antifreeze to circulate until antifreeze starts to exit the exhaust. This process will vary depending on whether you have a Raw Water cooling system or an Enclosed Fresh Water cooling system. Remove spark plugs and use "fogging oil" to spray into each cylinder, this will help protect the internal parts of the engine from corrosion Gear oil should also be changed each season as it is a good way of making sure there has not been contamination of the oil, When changing the oil make sure to replace the gaskets on the drain and level bungs.

3. Stern Drive(s)

You should thoroughly inspect the stern drive and remove any plant life or barnacles from the lower unit. Drain the gear case and check for excessive moisture in the oil. This could indicate leaking seals. If your stern drive has a rubber bellow/boot, the bellow should be checked for cracks, pinholes or hardened rubber. Grease all moving parts and check oil levels in hydraulic steering and PTT pump. Gear oil should be changed in the stern drive, if your stern drive has a oil reservoir in the engine compartment make sure there is no air between the leg and reservoir. Refer to your owner's manual for additional recommendations by the manufacturer.

4. Bilges

When your engine winterization is complete you should them clean you bilge area. It is good practice to keep your bilge area clean. Keep your bilge free from water.

5. Out of Water Storage

Pressure wash your hull, Making sure to clean barnacles off props and shafts, rudders, struts and trim tabs. Clean all thru-hulls and strainers and keep all seacocks open to allow any water to drain. Give the hull a good wax job. It is best to take the batteries out of the boat and charge them fully before storing for the winter or put them on a trickle charger.

6. In Water Storage

Close all seacocks and check rudder shafts and stuffing boxes for leaks, tighten or repack if necessary. Check your battery to make sure it is fully charged, clean terminals. It is recommended that you should keep your boat connected to shore power so as your batteries are kept fully charged even if bilge pumps are being used on a regular basis. Check bilge pumps to ensure they are working and that float switches properly activate the pumps. Check your boat periodically or have the marina check it and notify you of any issues.

Did you find this Boat Winterization Checklist useful?

If you have any suggestions or stories about boat winterization, feel free to comment below. Check out our boat maintenance products here. Please share this article with anyone you think might find it useful. Thanks.