How to Winterize Your Boat

Freezing conditions can spoil a beautiful boating experience in winter. If you are a boat owner who lives in deep freeze states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, you need to winterize your boat to protect the value of your investment. 

As the receding summer paves the way for winter, you need to pay close attention to your boat’s engine, cabin, potable water system, and other components that could be damaged by freezing winter weather. 

Even for temperate dwellers, winterization may sound like an optional idea, but the investment is worth it. Want to winterize your boat for the upcoming winter, but unsure of what to do or how to do it? Follow this guide.

Prepping Your Boat for the Winter

Boaters in the northern states can’t help but layup their machines for the winter. As you breathe a huge sigh of relief, don’t forget that winter ice thickness can reach up to 3ft in places like Minneapolis and Chicago. Failure to protect your engines, AC, and other systems against the harsh cold can be a bad idea which may result in engine failures and other losses.

BoatUS marine insurers suggest that Florida, Alabama and Louisiana boaters, including many others in the moderate climate zones account for the highest cases of freeze-related boat insurance claims. 

This happens because boaters in the temperate regions sometimes trade off winter protection for skating through the unknown. Unfortunately, this ill-advised bet often costs them more losses in the end.

The fact remains that irrespective of whether you store your boat in the north or in temperate regions, winterization is always the key to a hassle-free boating experience.

How to Winterize Your Boat Engine

Boat engines may differ, but the following winterization techniques still apply to all engine types.

  • Fog your boat engine. The use of fogging oil is a good insurance policy against the corrosion of inboard/outboard engines.
  • Change your engine oil. Dirty oil in a boat’s crankcase can form acidic compounds which may corrode your engine parts and shorten their lifespan
  • Antifreeze your engine block by filling it with propylene glycol of the appropriate strength. You may also want to top off your fuel tank with fuel stabilizers. Diesel stabilizers eliminate condensation and fight against the breeding of injector- logging bacteria.

How to Winterize Your Water and Sanitation Systems

  • Antifreeze your freshwater tanks and water lines to preserve your potable water systems
  • Residual water boat sanitation systems could form ice and cause extensive damage to your boat. Winterize them with antifreeze. 

Preventing Mold and Mildew Formation

During wintertime storage, high humidity in the cabin can lead to the formation of mold and mildew — these come with repulsive smells. They can also destroy the upholstery. Solve this problem by practicing active ventilation, installing dehumidifiers, and employing chlorine dioxide technologies.

Make sure to store your boat during the winter in a dry and safe environment. If you don’t have room in a backyard or garage, consider partnering with a local self-storage facility that can store your boat for you during the winter months. 

Bottom line: winter waits for no man. As temperatures begin to dip low, investing in boat winterization near you is worth every penny.  After all, prevention is better than cure. When done properly, winterization can save you tons of money and keep your boat in prime condition for next summer.