When temperatures drop and chilly weather sets in, it’s time to protect your boat from potential damage caused by sub-zero temps, snow, and other related conditions. Winterizing a boat can involve several steps, depending on where you store it during the colder months. To start the process, you’ll need some supplies to help protect your boat and its systems, which may include the following:
Now that you have a designated list of supplies, below are some key tips for preparing your boat for the winter season.
Before winterizing your boat, it's important to clean the hull thoroughly. A deep cleaning will help ensure algae and barnacles are removed and don't cause any damage during storage. Use a mild detergent and soft brush on the hull sides for this process, then rinse the hull with fresh water afterward.
A pressure washer is also effective in removing growth and debris from the bottom; however, take precautionary measures beforehand, and do not pressure wash an old gel coat finish or use ammonia-based cleaning agents. Also, remember not to spray too close to the surface and use gentle pressure. If you have doubts or don't have the time, you can always schedule an appointment at a local marina to clean it.
Although there are several ways to winterize your boat’s engines, whatever method you choose must be carefully and properly performed to protect the engine from damage. If you are unsure of the best way to winterize your boat’s engines or do not have the proper tools and supplies, it is highly encouraged to leave it up to certified professionals to do it for you.
It's a vital step to drain the water from the bilge before storing the boat for winter. You will also need to drain live wells, freshwater systems, heads, and anything else in the boat that could freeze and break. Once all the water is drained, add the proper amount of non-toxic antifreeze to each system to ensure no standing water remains in a pocket or low point. Also, disconnect or remove any batteries from the vessel and store them in a warm, dry space.
Once your boat is fully winterized, it's a good idea to cover it with canvas or a tarp. Or you can choose to have your vessel shrink wrapped instead. Covering the boat will help keep snow, ice, and other debris from accumulating on the deck or in the cockpit, where it can freeze and cause damage. Once the boat is covered, check it periodically throughout the off-season to ensure it's still secure and in good condition.
Be sure to store your boat properly for the winter season. Choose a dry spot sheltered from wind and other elements and away from any trees or shrubs that can cause damage. It's also best to provide proper support for the cover and create a tent shape that snow and rain will run off. Also, remember to check on your boat periodically throughout the winter season. A check will help confirm everything is still in good condition and allow you the chance to address any issues before they cause delays in the spring.
Additionally, winter is a great time to perform any repairs or upgrades. Whether you need to replace an old part or upgrade your equipment, taking care of these maintenance tasks in the off-season will give you a head start when it’s time to launch the boat again in the spring.
By following the above tips and taking proper winter boat care seriously, you can ensure your boat will be ready when the warm weather returns.
Newcoast is a leading insurance and finance provider in the marine and recreational industry. Newcoast offers competitive and customized boat loans and RV financing options, as well as tailored boat insurance plans and RV insurance programs with robust carrier options, industry-leading experience, and access to world-class partners. To obtain a loan or insurance plan that’s right for you and your boating or RV lifestyle, call (866) 639-2627 or visit www.newcoast.com.
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