End of Season (Winterizing) Checklist…

by admin on August 12, 2010



Winterizing your boat is extremely important and it has to be done correctly.

Here in New England where the winter weather is highly unpredictable and the temperatures can reach zero and below, unless you have indoor storage, it is doubly important. If you don’t winterize your engine block, it will freeze and possibly crack, thereby ruining your boat. Additionally, it is a great time to cleanup and repair your boat so that it will give you many years of reliable pleasure. A clean boat lasts longer… especially around here.

1. Protecting your boat’s exterior

First wash and wax the hull, including the bottom and deck. Check for damage and fix.

Drain and clean the bilge.

Clean the interior including the windshield and all glass. Include the instrument panel and don’t forget any storage areas. Clean and treat any upholstery and trim. Vacuum and wash or clean the carpet.

Drain, clean, lubricate, and winterize the head.

Check all fire extinguishers

Drain and winterize the water system.

Inspect and lubricate all controls and cables.

Inspect clean and treat standing and running, rigging, sails, canvas (including boat cover) and mooring Lines.

If possible remove electronics for storage.

Use dehumidify and mildew control.

Remove, clean, treat and store the dingy.

2. Your engine

Remove and inspect the propeller.

Add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank as per instructions.

Use a flush attachment to flush the engine.

Run the engine at low RPM for several minutes to get fuel lines, carburetor etc., full of treated fuel.

Change the motor oil and filter then run the engine to make sure oil is circulated and motor parts lubricated with new oil.

Use fogging oil in the carburetor while engine is running and run the engine a few minutes. (see manufactures instructions)

Drain and replace the gear case/vertical drive unit lubricant.

Remove the spark plugs and spray fogging oil into the cylinders. Turn over the engine to distribute the fogging oil.

Leave the wires disconnected and re-install the spark plugs.

Winterize the cooling system with appropriate anti-freeze. (follow manufacturers instructions)

Remove the battery, check water level, charge battery and store in a cool dry location. Charge periodically or attach a battery float charger.

Disconnect any portable fuel lines and tanks.

Spray a rust preventative on engine and other rustable parts.

Check all belts and hoses.

3. Your trailer

Check tires and wheels for air pressure and damage.

Inspect all rollers and replace or fix any damage.

Lubricate the wheel bearings.

Inspect, clean and lubricate the winch.

Clean and lubricate ball and hitch.

Inspect and test lighting fix as necessary.

4. Some general tips and warnings.

  1. Check manufacturers’ recommendations for all steps.
  2. Your owners manual will be very informative for these steps.
  3. Supplies to perform these operations can be found on line or at a boat shop.
  4. Make sure you put the antifreeze in as manufacturer recommends. This is very important.
  5. Be careful, running your engine out of the water can be very damaging. Run it for very short periods and check with the manufacturer’s specifications.
  6. Be careful being around a motor while it’s running can hurt you including the propeller.
Sources: From personal experience, Popular Mechanics articles, ehow.com, and others.

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