Taking a few moments now to think about how you’ll put your boat o bed for the off season, as the days grow shorter and the ducks fly south, will pay dividends later. Whether this is your first or your 51st year winterizing your boat, all the know-how you need is available to you at www.BoatUS.com/Winterizing, including “The
Boater’s Guide To Winterizing,” a downloadable checklist to bring along to the
boat with you. But before you go online, ask yourself a few questions:
Where (And How) Do I Want To Store The Boat This Winter?
This is the starting point for any winterizing plan. Options include everything from
indoor heated storage, to in the water, or out back on the trailer under a tarp. Or perhaps you’d prefer to tow or ship your boat to Florida to use during a winter getaway?
Other considerations include:
■ How secure is the location, be it a boatyard, storage lot, or private property? How
accessible will it be? Who will transport the boat there?
■ How hard is it for you to personally check on the boat?
■ Who will perform any needed labor to winterize the boat? Does the yard place
limits on DIY maintenance or outside contractors?
■ Will you cover the boat? If not, a first-rate wax job – and cleaning and polishing
the stainless steel – will help protect it, but you need to add the time and cost to
your plan. A good cover or shrink-wrap eliminates many of the issues with leaves
or snow clogging cockpit drains, and other hazards of winter. Consider investing in
a custom winter storage cover rather than paying for shrink-wrap each season.
Winter Comes Again
Cold weather will be here before you know it. (Sorry!) Here’s what you should be
thinking about before putting your boat to bed for its long winter’s nap
What Systems Need
To Be Addressed?
Generally, anything that uses water for
cooling or carries water for use on board,
needs to be winterized. Fall is also the
perfect time to do your annual oil change
and transmission fluid, or lower-unit
gear-lube change on your engines. Make
sure your to-do list includes:
■ Oil change and cylinder fogging for
engines and generators.
■ Lower-unit gear-lube change for
outboards or sterndrives.
■ Topping off the fuel tank, adding
stabilizer or biocides as needed.
■ Draining or flushing/filling any raw-
water cooling systems with nontoxic
antifreeze. Don’t forget the air-
conditioning system. P H O T O :
By Michael Vatalaro
If storing your boat
in the water, seal the
exhaust outlet to keep
vermin from taking up