Winterizing Your Boat: How to Get Your Boat Ready

Putting your boat to sleep for the winter is one of the most joyless aspects of boat ownership. Along with the logistics of getting the job done, you’re also looking at several months’ abstinence from fun and games on the water.

Enjoyable it isn’t, but it’s by far one of the most important annual maintenance jobs. One you (sadly) can’t afford to ignore.

Effective winterization will ensure your boat stays in the best possible condition throughout the worst of the weather. You can do it yourself, we can help – but either way, you need to ensure the following have been covered:

It’s always nice to put a boat back in the water come spring that’s already clean, pristine and ready to go. You won’t be using it for a while, so now is the time to give your whole boat a good cleaning – inside and out.

Clean all of the interior upholstery with an appropriate vinyl cleaner that will remove any existing dirt, mold or mildew.  Wipe down the dash and non-upholstered areas. Make sure all the interior compartments are dry. Rinse off the hull and clean the dirt and grime off with fiberglass cleaner.

If you plan on storing your boat on dry land throughout the winter, you’ll need to top off the fuel and add a fuel stabilizer. This is also a useful time to take a look at your fuel filter and replace it if necessary. Drain the lower unit lube and replace it with new 80/90 lube oil. Remove and inspect spark plugs to ensure your outboard motor is thoroughly flushed and use a rust-prevention oil or protect exposed motor parts from corrosion.  Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to fog the motor.

Remove the drain plug and drain any excess water that has collected in the hull.  Make sure the interior seats and carpeting of the boat are dry before you cover it up to store it for the winter.

Gear Removal
As a rule of thumb, anything you can remove from your boat for the winter is something you probably should remove. Examples include flares, fire extinguishers, lines, lifejackets, skis, tow-ropes and so on – all of which are inviting theft or damage while out of your supervision. Remove the battery and charge it over the winter.

One Final Check
Make sure your boat cover is dry and covered.  You can put dryer sheets under the cover to deter rodents.  When you’re happy you’ve got the job done, take the time to give your boat one final inspection from top to bottom.

All of us at Rhinelander Collision Center are on hand to help you to get your boat winterized, and we offer storage services throughout the winter months to keep your boat in tip-top condition. Call today so we can winterize, shrink wrap and store your boat for you.

Share This Article: