Winterize Your Boat Like a Pro

Ah, it’s that time of year where the nighttime temperatures start to dip, signaling it’s
time to plan ahead to winterize your boat.
Boat winterization is something you want to be proactive about and get it completed
before the first freeze. An unexpected cold snap can spell disaster for your boat
engine and lead to costly and time consuming repairs. Winterization for outboard
motors, inboard motors, and inboard/ outboard motors all share the same process.
So how do you properly winterize your boat? First, you’ll want to add stabilizer to
your fuel system, and then run your engine in order to cycle it throughout your
entire fuel delivery system including the tank, fuel lines, filters, bowls, and injectors.
By doing this simple maintenance you will ensure easy start up and smooth engine
performance in the springtime. As a side note it is a good idea to top off your fuel
tank in the fall in order to reduce water condensation in your tank and
contaminating your fuel.
Secondly, we winterize the boat motor to avoid water freezing and damaging your
engine through expansion of ice. Remove all of the drain plugs that are naturally
found throughout the cooling system in the block, the manifold, and the exhaust
systems. Once the “sea water” is drained, replace and tighten all of the plugs and
then take a glycol-based antifreeze and feed it into your cooling system until it
comes out of the exhaust. This assures you that all of the water has been purged
from the cooling system, and that the impeller blades that pump water through the
cooling system will not dry out over the winter.
On larger boats you’ll need to also run glycol antifreeze through your sink, shower,
and toilet systems. You’ll need to treat both the supply lines, and the drainpipes.
This is essential because always these lines and drains are in hard to reach places
and with simple preventative maintenance you’ll never have to worry about the
hassle of boating season repairs.
On larger boats you will also want to winterize your generator.
Beyond the fuel system and cooling system, the fall is a great time to change your oil
so your engine is stored with clean oil, to top off all of your fluids, and to put rust
preventative lubricant on all your hydraulic arms for your steering, power tilt, and
trim tabs. What about your air filter and fuel filter? Clean is always better. What
about servicing any grease fittings? Keep everything lubed to displace moisture, and
ensure smooth springtime operation.
Autumn is the best time to change out the fluid on your lower end or drive in order
to keep it running smoothly and maximize its longevity. The lower end service
should be performed once a year preferably in the fall.

If all of these maintenance tasks are addressed in the autumn, your launch in the
springtime is sure to be joyful and satisfying. After all, that’s why you own a boat,
right?