The air is getting crisper, the mornings are darker, and the water is getting colder. For boaters, these are all signs that the boating season is about to wrap up and winter is around the corner. Saying goodbye to your craft for another season is tough. Luckily there’s the promise of another great season just a few months away. To ensure that your next season is even better than the last, you’ll need to be sure to properly winterize and store your boat.
There are a few simple steps you can take now to ensure that when you take your boat out again come Spring, there’s very little to do in the way of maintenance and preparation for a great season. There’s a small cost associated with winterization for some of the supplies. But the cost of not winterizing can be far greater. High repair costs, potentially irreparable damage, and lost time on the water are all likely if you skip or skimp on winterizing your craft.
- Give it a Once Over
Before you start the winterization process, give her a good once-over thorough inspection. Why? Because if there’s damage or other issues, they should be addressed before you winterize, especially if they impact the safe operation of your craft.
Below is a list of the most important inspection items:
- All hoses, clamps, and seacocks
- Deteriorated materials such as gels or zincs
- Props and cutlass bearings
- Decking, ports, and hatches for leaks
- Fuel lines
- Electrical components
- Sails and riggings, if applicable
Don’t worry if you see anything of concern. Xtreme Marine can help! We have a full-service department for all your parts, service, and maintenance needs. We can also help you inspect your boat if you’re not sure what to look for. Provided all is good, you’re ready to start the winterizing process.
- Fuel & Water Systems
Your boat is made up of many fuel and water systems that work in tandem to keep your boat in peak performance mode. As such, you’ll want to be sure to protect them.
A fuel stabilizer treatment is highly recommended. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, but most of them are simple to use. Simply add the stabilizing agent to the fuel supply and run the craft for the suggested amount of time. Using a fuel stabilizer prevents varnish deposit clogs in the carburetor and fuel injector.
Draining the engine block is necessary for some boats. Be sure to note if this is necessary for your make and model. Additionally, you’ll need to drain all the cooling water, hoses, and pumps. This prevents freezing and expansion that causes damage to your boat’s components. When you’re done, remove the drain plug from the hull and store it somewhere safe. Keep it out for the winter.
Pay special attention to seacocks, hoses, and clamps. Lubricate if necessary and replace any cracked or worn hoses. Don’t forget the engine fittings. Those need to be greased and lubricated to prevent oxidization and rusting.
- Seal it Up
It’s not time to tarp it just yet, but you’re going to want to look for little holes and entryways for pests. That’s right. Your boat could become home to mice or worse this winter if you don’t seal every port of entry. Ensure that any exposed potential entrances are sealed.
- Battery Care
A best practice is to have a battery fully charged before disconnecting the grounding terminal. Consider replacing the battery ahead of winter if it’s old or leaky.
- Have it Serviced
Bring your boat to Xtreme Marine for service and maintenance. We’ll give it another inspection, address any issues, and tune it up for optimal performance. Our trained team of professionals will make sure that there are no safety concerns, and that your boat is ready for its winter hibernation period.
It’s essential to have an oil and filter change. Most professionals recommend that you do this before winter storage to reduce the amount of moisture that accumulates. Many boaters also recommend changing the oil again in the spring for the same reason – oil that’s been sitting all winter will naturally develop moisture which could impact the running of the boat when you’re ready to take it out.
Fogging the engine cylinders and carburetor is also highly recommended to avoid corrosion to the boat’s power system.
- Tidy Up
Don’t leave anything in the boat that’s an attractive and cozy home for pests! Take out seat cushions, life jackets, and anything else a rodent might burrow in. As well, remove all electronics such as GPS, Sonar, and other valuables or accessories that shouldn’t sit all winter. Essentially, unless you must store it with your boat, don’t. Once your boat is emptied, wipe it down, inside, and out. Clean mould, mildew, and hull scum.
- Cover Up
Now it’s time to tarp. You can use a tarp or shrink-wrap. Whatever you decode, be sure it’s fitted to your boat. You’re looking for as tight as fit as possible. This ensures as much protection as possible. Be aware that tarps are abrasive and as such, they may wear on the finish of your craft. To prevent this, use padding in between the surface and the tarp anywhere the tarp is at risk of rubbing.
Now that she’s dressed for winter, you need to find storage. Indoor temperature-controlled is ideal but not always available or financially realistic. If there’s no temperature control, indoor is still infinitely better than outdoor storage.
For those of you with no choice but to store outdoors, consider these tips:
- Try to secure some shelter such as a carport or roofed structure
- Avoid parking directly under a sloped roof or large tree where snow/ice might fall on the boat causing damage
- If the ground is uneven look into levelling blocks
- Be sure to check on the boat periodically in good weather, and always immediately after any adverse snow/weather event
If you need winterizing gear, supplies, other accessories, Xtreme Marine’s online accessory catalogue has you covered.
The best way to guarantee your boat is sea-ready is to ensure that you winterize and store it properly. This ensures that you and your boat will enjoy another great boating season. That’s where Xtreme Marine comes in. We offer a full-service menu, including parts and maintenance, and we guarantee all of our work. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, we’ll help you order it from our online catalogue.
We will help you winterize. Need advice? Contact us or come see us in the showroom. We will be happy to answer questions and get you set up with the supplies you need. If you don’t have time to DIY this year, we’ll take care of it for you.Blog