Winterizing Your Boat

If you live in one of those nice, warm places where you can take your boat out for a spin year-round…  well, congratulations. You can stop reading. May your worst worries be UV and mildew. For the rest of us, the onset of winter and sub-freezing temperatures means that we have to take precautions to protect our floating investments.

There's snow on the dock and the underwater ice-prevention gear is hard at work. In-water storage can work in protected marinas, but engines and all water systems still have to be winterized.

There’s snow on the dock and the underwater ice-prevention gear is hard at work. In-water storage can work in protected marinas, but engines and all water systems still have to be winterized. Doug Logan photo.

Everybody knows that water expands when it freezes, but not everyone has seen the damage it can do if it freezes inside an engine, or in a galley hose, or between a toerail and a cabinside, or in a bilge. It can be bad. And expensive. Meanwhile dirty oil left in an engine over the winter will degrade the metal it’s meant to lubricate. Uncovered cockpits will collect leaves and debris that will cause clog drains and cause stains.

Winterizing your boat properly isn’t a bad chore – it’s a satisfying one.  You’ll rest easily over the winter knowing it’s protected, and in the spring there’s little to do but take off the cover, renew the wax – and relax.

Without further ado, here are links to articles and videos from Boat Trader and from boats.com that together cover pretty much every winterization angle, whether you own an inboard with a stern-drive, a four- or two-stroke outboard, or even a diesel, and whether you carry your drinking water in a jug or pipe it from a tank to your head and galley.

BASICS

Five Winter Lay-Up Tips for Your Boat

Winter Boat Storage: What’s Right for Your Boat?

In-the-Water Winter Boat Storage

How to Cover Your Boat

Should You Shrink-Wrap Your Boat?

OUTBOARDS and OUTDRIVES

How to Winterize a Four-Stroke Outboard 

Outboard Expert: Five Lay-Up Mistakes to Avoid 

How to Change the Lower Unit Oil on a Boat

How to Winterize Your Stern Drive and Pressure Water System

How to Winterize a Small Outboard

Five Steps Often Overlooked When Winterizing Your Outboard Motor

FUEL TANK

Winterizing Your Boat’s Fuel Tank

BATTERIES

Battery Winter Lay-Up Dos and Donts 

AIR-CONDITIONING

How to Winterize Boat Air-Conditioning

DIESEL COOLING SYSTEM

Winterizing Your Diesel Engine: Cooling System

DIESEL LUBE OIL CHANGE

Winterizing Your Diesel Engine: Oil Change


A previous version of this article appeared on Boat Trader in October 2014.

 

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