How to Winterize a Boat

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It is good to winterize your boat anytime you plan not to use it for a long period of time, its better safe than sorry. Since every boat is different you should always check your boats owner manual for instructions on how to winterize a boat. Make sure you follow those directions provided in the owner’s manual for your boat. These are some of the things I do to winterize a boat when I do not plan to use it for a while.

Things You’ll Need:

  • owners manual
  • gas
  • ears
  • oil
  • filter
  • antifreeze
  • pressure washer
  • water heater
  • boat cover


Step 1

The first thing you should always do when winterizing a boat is check the owner’s manual. This is very important so make sure you check your manual before starting to winterize a boat.

Step 2

Fill you tank! This will help prevent corrosion within the area that would normally be covered with gas. Make sure the use the correct fuel additive to condition the tank.

Step 3

Flush your motor with water to remove any salt or bacteria that may be hiding inside your motor. Make sure to use “ears” to attach the hose to your motor, this not only helps keep the motor cool but allows the water to clean the motor out.

Step 4

While your motor is being flushed drain the oil. Refer to your owners manual for directions on how to drain your boats oil. Replace the oil and filter. Make sure you use quality oil and filters. Oil filters with check valves tend to be better because they keep the oil from running back through the filter. Also check your owners manual for the correct type of motor oil to use (most inboard motors will use 30 weight oil).

Step 5

Fog the carburetor while the motor is running until it begins to smoke, usually 20 to 30 seconds. This will cause the oil to spray into the carburetor creating a thin oil coating on it. This will prevent rust by reducing condensation on the internal parts of the motor.

Step 6

After you have fogged the motor you can disconnect the fuel line and allow the motor to “run out of gas.” This will help remove any gas that may settle in the lines and go bad.

Step 7

Lower the motor to allow all the water to drain from it. You can also try to turn the motor over several times to push the rest of the water out of the cooling system on the motor.

Step 8

If you motor uses anti-freeze now is a good time to remove the old fluid and replace it with new fluid.

Step 9

If you are removing your boat from the water you should disconnect your battery and store it in your garage to allow you to perform maintenance and protect from theft. If you are leaving your boat in the water you will want to leave the battery in the boat and connected so your bilge pump will continue to work.

** With either method you should clean the battery storage area to protect from corrosion.

Step 10

If removing your boat from the water during winter you should clean the outside with a power washer to remove any residue and stains. While you are cleaning the hull of your boat make sure to inspect it for cracks or damages to the coating that will need to be repaired.

Step 11

If leaving your boat in the water during winter you should make sure you close all the seacocks and valves. If these are left open water can easily fill you boat and cause it to sink. Also make sure there is something in the water around your boat to keep it from freezing. A water heater like you would use for livestock in a pond works good for smaller boats.

Step 12

Cover your boat! You should use a cover that fits correctly (as tight as possible) and is not weathered. This will keep the elements off your boat and avoid damage that they may cause.


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