How to easily winterize and protect your boat for winter
Unless you live in the deep south, there is a good chance you will have to winterize your boat at some point. In some places, like in New England, you will have to keep it winterized longer than others, but for the most part, the steps will be similar. Because of the variety of boats, different waters, and engines, this will not be a step-by-step guide, but rather three easy steps to help.
Step #1 Keep a Log
There is a reason ships have logs. We all struggle at times with our long-term memory. For instance, when was the last time you changed the oil in your car? If you write down the process of winterizing your boat next spring, it will be much easier to reverse the process.
Step #2 Gas that Boat Up
Be careful of Ethanol blended fuel. Make sure you store with only Ethanol free and use a high quality fuel stabilizer. Make sure when you start using stabilizer towards the end of the summer so the fuel and fuel lines and mixed correctly!
Step #3 Take out your Battery and charge it!
Chances are you will forget something that your battery is needed for, such as putting the outboard in a trailerable position. Once you do take your battery out, store it in a warm dry place close to an outlet so you can easily trickle charge it every month.
Step #4 Get that Boat Dry!
Wipe down your boat and get it clean and dry. A dry boat is a clean boat and one that will not promote growth of “green stuff!”. We recommend storing your gear in a dry place for the winter also. Another great trick is to leave open all your seats and any place water can collect. Make it easy for water to evaporate! Take the plug out also so water will always drain out the bottom of the boat. Leave on a slight angle also so the water will not pool at the front of the boat!
Step #5 Replace Everything Except the Spark
Switch out every conceivable and replaceable part; inline oil filters, regular oil filters, oil, fuel filters, water fuel separator, and the list goes on and on. Switch them all except for your spark plugs. There would be no benefit in switching these now and may cause problems. Wait until the first outing to switch them, but go ahead and buy them when you buy the rest of the replacements.
You now have 5 easy steps to make your winterizing life just a little bit easier. Thanks and happy boating!