Eight Simple Steps You Can Take To Winterize Boat Parts
You’ve had fun all summer long and now the season is winding down. You know that you have to face those long cold winter nights, waiting for the next boating season to start. However, before you put your boat up for the winter, you have to ensure your boat parts are winterized. Even if you don’t live in the New England area or other parts of the world that are always cold in the winter, you should always take great care to winterize your boat. Where should you begin?
Inboard Engines – If you have an inboard engine, it’s best to allow it to warm so you can change its oil. As you change its oil, it’s good practice to change the oil filter as well. Make sure to flush your boat’s engine with fresh water. Get antifreeze into the engine and allow it to circulate by turning it on. Once, it has gone through, the antifreeze will leave by way of the exhaust. Your transmission fluid should also be changed at this time. Once this is complete, remove those spark plugs and use WD-40 on them. Lastly, wipe down your engine.
Outboard Engines – You will want to fish your engine with fresh water and allow it to completely drain away. Clean and rinse your engine thoroughly. Remember to disconnect the fuel hose and allow the engine to run until it cuts off. It’s vital that all of the fuel is removed from the carburetor so no evaporated deposits will build-up. Use WD-40 to grease the inside of the cylinder walls and pistons. Your propeller shaft should have water resistant grease on it. Make sure you change the gear oil and grease the exterior of the engine with a thin coating.
Stern Drive – Be sure to inspect your stern drive. If there is anything inside it, remove the item(s). Be sure to drain your gear case and look for extra dampness in the oil. If there is, you could have an issue with leaking seals. This will have to be repaired. Use soap and water to clean the unit. Should your boat have a rubber boot, check the boot for any cracks. You’ll want to grease all the fittings and make sure fluid levels are good.
Fresh Water System – Be sure the system is completely drained. Disconnect the hot water heater from their lines, connecting the lines together. Put non-toxic antifreeze in the fresh water system and be to turn on every facet until you see it coming out. You’ll want to pour the antifreeze into the water heater as well.
Bilges – Bilges should be cleaned and dried. If there are oil spills, clean them up with hot, soapy water. You’ll probably need a good stiff brush too. Once this is done, apply antifreeze to them so they are no susceptible to the cold too.
Fuel – Before putting your boat away for the winter, fill it up with gas. Doing so keeps condensation from building up while it’s sitting idle for the winter months. Be sure and change the fuel filter and water separator, too. You can use yamalube engine oil to protect the engine.
Boat Interior – Before you put away the boat, clean every nook and cranny of your boat. That means your boat should be spotless before it gets put away for the winter months. If you want to keep mildew away, install a dehumidifier or use a spray that is designed to keep dampness at bay.
After every boat part has been winterized, place your boat in a shed. If this is not an option, buy a tarp big enough to cover your boat for the winter. As long as you utilize these tips above, you’ll have an easy time getting the boat ready for the summer season. If you still have questions, always refer back to your boat’s owner manual for guidance or ask a professional for help.