Winterize your boat
Follow these tips to winterize your boat during the colder months ahead:
- Replace engine and gear oil. Moisture and acids in old oil will pit bearings and internal engine parts while in storage. To drain oil, first warm up the engine so more contaminated oil drains out and impurities flush out easier.
- Flush and drain cooling water. Flush the engine with clean water. Next, remove engine drain plugs to prevent freezing water from damaging the engine. Check your owner’s manual for the location of drain plugs, which are usually found in the engine block and manifold.
- Stabilize fuel. Add fuel stabilizer to the fuel to prevent deterioration. Then fill the fuel tank. A full tank prevents water condensation.
- Protect internal engine components. While in storage, engine oil drains away, leaving internal engine components exposed and vulnerable to corrosion. Use a fogging oil to coat internal components.
- Grease and lubricate. Find grease fittings, and service them with a quality marine grease. Most fittings will be located in the steering mechanism area. Check your owner’s manual for all areas needing lubrication.
- Secure batteries. Top off batteries with distilled water, or take home to store in the garage. Set up a trickle charge to keep batteries topped off.
- Drain water tanks. Drain water and add non-toxic antifreeze, running it through the system to purge water that could freeze.
Check your owner’s manual for further information, or consult a certified marine technician. –Beth and John Schwab
Feel at home on the water
Learn to boat with confidence by taking the Boat Handling course online from America’s Boating Club.