by Shawn Clayton
on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 10:46am.
With Old Man Winter soon set to rear his ugly head, it will quickly be time to get the boat out of the water and winterize it for the upcoming cold months. With that in mind, here are some tips for winterizing your boat to ensure it boat is properly cared for and ready to sit through the harsh winter, so you don't discover any nasty surprises when you haul it out in the spring.
Remove All Batteries & Clean Terminals
A good battery will last 4-6 years if taken care of properly, so make sure you aren't leaving the batteries in your vessel all winter. Also too, don't store them on a concrete floor, as freezing can damage the plates and drain the power. Try putting them on a 2X6 board and trickle charge them every months with a charger that has a monitor or auto shut off so you don't fry the battery.
Prepare The Motor
Get your motor serviced with a compression and spark plug check. Drain all fuel and water from the engine and fog the carburetor and cylinders. Then lubricate linkages as well as the electric starter mechanism. From there you should drain and refill the gearcase using a lubricant that's specified in your owner's manual. What this does is prevent condensation forming inside the tank.
Drain Gas From Fuel Tank
Leaving fuel in a tank all winter is just inviting problems in the spring when you start the boat up, even with fuel stabilizers. It's better to store you boat with no fuel in the tank as there won't be a buildup of condensation. However if your boat uses diesel fuel, top up the tank to stop condensation (a big problem with diesel) and treat the gas with a biocide to stop bacteria growth.
Flush Out Raw Water Circuit
If you have a fresh-water flush connector, use it. Otherwise, close the intake seacock and disconnect the hose on the outlet side of the raw-water pump. Then disconnect the cooling-water discharge hose from the exhaust manifold or riser. From there, run fresh water into the discharge hose to back-flush raw-water passages and rinse out salt deposits. You can extend the disconnected pump hose outside the vessel or let the bilge pump handle the flush discharge.
Spray With Corrosion Retardant
Make sure you coat all metal parts with an anti-corrosion spray to inhibit rust from forming. But it is true that rust never sleeps.
Give your boat a good steam clean to wash off any salt, mold and mildew. You can also use a pressure washer (on the hull and cockpit if your boat is open console) to give it a good going over.
Wrap It Up (For Outside Storage)
If you are not storing your boat in the heated confines of a dry dock or storage barn, you will want to get it shrink wrapped for the winter. Properly shrink wrapping your boat will provide water proofing, a rodent deterrent and UV protection.
When you are ready to winterize your boat, always follow the recommendations of your owner's manual.