As the fall progresses, air and water temperatures drop steadily. Before you know it, it will be time to put away the boat for the winter. Make sure you are doing it right so you don’t face costly mistakes that will put a damper on the spring boating season.
Many marinas offer winterization services which cover many details the do-it-yourselfer may not think of.
A winterization service will typically protect your vessel’s engine, generator, freshwater system, head system, air conditioning system, washer/dryer, heat exchanger, shaft cooler, transmission oil, ice maker and sea strainers. And if you are storing your boat for the winter there are other things to think of — oil changes, engine impeller changes, lower unit fluid changes, anti-mildew bags, odor and moisture absorbing products and more.
Even if you choose to have a professional winterize your boat, there are a number of things you need to do to prepare. Here are some tips so you can have a worry-free winter:
1. Make sure holding tanks are empty and fuel tanks are 3/4 full.
2. Remove all perishable food and beverages.
3. Remove all valuable items including portable electronics.
4. Open all lockers, drawers and compartments and clean thoroughly.
5. Open and clean the refrigerator and freezer.
6. Consider purchasing a mildew-free product to protect against moisture and mildew.
7. Turn your cushions on edge to allow air to circulate or take them to a climate-controlled space.
8. Inspect your lines, fenders and other mooring gear and replace if necessary.
9. Inventory all safety equipment: PFDs, fire extinguishers, flairs, etc.