Winterize Your Boat to Shield it From the Elements
The 2013 boating season is coming to a close for most of the United States. We're breaking down the steps you should take to prepare your boat for winter so that it's protected from the elements and easy to break back out next sumer.
First, fill - but do not overfill - your boat's fuel tank. Add a gas stabilizer and an ethanol stabilizer to the fuel and allowed to run through your boat's engine. This works to preserve the gas until next season and insure that the gas in the lines won't turn, causing problems for you when you break it back out in the spring.
Next, change the engine oil and filter before putting your boat away. Warm up your engine before changing the oil in order to get as much out as possible. A non-toxic antifreeze works to remove salt water in your risers.
Then, remove and clean your flame arrestor (if your boat has one). A protective spray should be sprayed over the engine block's exterior to prevent rust from forming during the winter.
If your boat is a freshwater boat, add non-toxic anitfreeze. Run the water pump until the antifreeze comes out of each faucet and out of the hot water tank (if you have one.) This process should help to prevent your PVC pipes from cracking in the cold winter weather.
Finally, clean and secure the inside cabin of your boat thoroughly. Remove food, valuables and any electroics. Move any couch cushions onto their side to allow air to flow underneath them. This will help to prevent trapped water from forming mold and mildew in your absence.
After you finish with those procedures, clean the top-side of your boat and cover it with a tarp or have it professionally shrink-wrapped. Check your manual before you begin this process to determine whether or not your boat has specific instructions to help you winterize it.
Properly preparing your boat for winter will help to preserve it during the harsh weather and it will make it easier to get it ready when the weather is nice enough to use it again.