Winterizing A Boat Checklist

Winterizing A Boat Checklist To Avoid Damages

After the boating season is over what you need to think about is how to winterize your boat and protect your valuable asset. Winterizing a boat checklist will definitely help to do so. The effort and time you put on winterizing can go a long way in affecting its performance and will save you money, time, and effort come spring.

Winterizing A Boat Checklist

Preparing your boat for winter requires various steps that should be performed so that the boat is kept in the best possible condition. Step one on how to winterize a boat is to create a checklist of everything which needs to be achieved. Here is a step by step winterizing a boat checklist.

  • Start by inspecting the boat for damage which needs to be repaired
  • Clean propeller shaft before applying protective grease
  • Install a de-icing device inside the boat and store in water
  • Inspect then repair wiring
  • Ensure that the fuel valves are sealed
  • Change the oil as well as any filters
  • Use fresh water so as to flush the engine, afterward ensures that you drain everything
  • Lubricate grease fittings of the engine
  • Grease external engine fittings
  • Circulate antifreeze via engine block as well as manifolds
  • In case the boat has an inboard motor you can change the transmission fluid
  • Clean the boat inside and outside then remove barnacles or plant life
  • Remove valuables inside the boat
  • Remove the battery and store in a dry and safe place
  • Ensure that you lock the boat and the keys are left with a responsible person

How to Winterize a Boat for Avoiding Loss?

Step 1

You can start by cleaning out the interior of your boat like water sports equipment or fishing, accessories, ladders, and floatation devices.

Also, ensure that you remove non-factory installed electronic equipment like depth finders, and external audio players then storing them indoors so as to prevent theft or damage.

You can thoroughly clean the floor of the boat or pontoon boat so as to remove dirt, food crumbs, and dust. Also, ensure that you wipe down everything inside the boat then ensure it is dry. You can use boat seat cleaners or upholstery cleaners.

This will eliminate the chances of mildew or mold growing inside the boat thus making the boat or pontoon boat less prone to rodents. In addition, clean off the exterior of the boat so as to ensure it is dry before you cover the boat.

How to Winterize a Boat

Step 2

Ensure that you remove equipment from inside the boat. You can remove any miscellaneous equipment from the boat. This includes anything from floatation devices such as tubes, skis, floatation devices, towels as well as fishing equipment which traps moisture leading to mildew.

Additionally, ensure that you remove any electronic equipment that should be removed then stored indoors so as to protect it from moisture and cold temperatures.

Step 3

Confirm that you winterize the fuel tank and engine. Because the engine of your boat will remain dormant for a few months, ensure that it is well protected. Ensure that you check the owner’s manual because it shows you the specific instructions on how to prepare the engine for storage during winter.

During cold temperatures, any water inside the boat’s engine expands thus resulting in damage and cracking. You can lubricate the engine cylinders then spray fogging oil into spark plug holes as well as carburetors.

From there, ensure that you store the fuel tank that is 3/4 full. In case, the fuel comes with ethanol, you can add a fuel stabilizer that protects the fuel.

Like the engines, the freshwater system, waste system, fixed generators, and fixed air conditions should be taken care of. The water should be reduced from the tanks and the antifreeze should be circulated through the lines and tanks.

In Step 4

Make sure that you charge then store the battery. In case you are planning on taking your boat outside the water, you can remove your boat battery as well as store it inside a dry environment which is near room temperature. Ensure that your boat’s battery is charged fully before it is stored away.

The final step ensures that you cover the boat with the right winter boat cover. You can choose to cover your boat with a tarpaulin which is designed to withstand harsh winter and extreme temperature conditions. A good boat cover for winter should fit the boat snugly as well as expand and contract slightly so that it does not rip from changes in temperature.

Step 5 of Boat Winterization

After preparing everything properly we need to cover the boat and the trailer with a good quality boat cover. Different types and shapes of covers are available in the market.

A Brief Video on Boat Winterization

How to Winterize a Boat Motor?

The first step is to prepare your boat motor for winterizing. To reduce the chances of the tank being filled with air, you should fill it with gas. Air is not a good thing because it can lead to condensation when the temperature is low.

If you fail to fill up your tank with gas, you will end up with water inside which can lead to major problems later on. From there add fuel stabilizer which prevents buildup when the boat is left for extended periods. Next, warm the engine by running it while in water.

The second step, add antifreeze as well as spraying fogging oils. After cleaning the motor ensure it is prepared as above. You can add antifreeze so as to prevent condensation of water inside the motor.

In addition, make sure you add antifreeze to engine blocks. It is important that you follow the boat’s manufacturer specifications on how to drain the engine block. The antifreeze to add once you drain the engine block of the coolant is propylene glycol. You can also add antifreeze to sterndrives, which refer to an inboard motor.

The third step, ensure that you replace the oil filter and change the engine’s oil. It is easier to drain then change the oil when it is warm. Your transmission as well as engine oil can be contaminated with particles and dirt, which harms it during winter when it is not dealt with well.

You can change your transmission and engine oil which can be contaminated with dust particles and dirt.

Fourth step and finally, conduct a final inspection of the boat motor. The first inspection to do is to check the exhaust system for corrosion. To inspect the exhaust system you need to disassemble it from the water lift muffler then check for defects such as corrosion.

For example, if you are using a trolling motor for a pontoon boat or an outboard motor for any other boat, don’t forget the last inspection which may be the most important.

Second, inspect the hose clamps and hoses. Check the clamp and ensure it is shredded, cracked, or rusty. The third inspection to do is to seal off cracks from the air intake.

You can double-check the exhaust outlet and air inlet. Ensure that you take care of the battery and remove then keep it indoors. You can choose pests whether you keep them in storage or lift. Invest in theft prevention so that you can stay vigilant as well as a stop so as to check on the boat once after a while.

Boat Winterization Kit

If you have already researched on winterizing a boat checklist, then you probably have come across the term “winterization kit”. Simply put, a winterization kit refers to a compact supply of different tools and supplies which are needed to winterize a boat yourself.

Unless you live in sunny areas that allow you to boat throughout the year without worrying about the cold season, you should think early about preparing your boat for the winter season.

You can find a trusted and reliable shop that sells winterization kits that you can count on, which allows you to maximize your boating experience the following season.

Even if you are a DIYer, it is likely that you will winterization kits that you can use to protect your valuable asset.

In case you have never winterized your boat yourself, it is recommended that you choose Starbrite’s Do It Yourself Kit. This winterization kit comes with everything you need to protect your boat during the winter season, including step by step instructions on how to use the kit.

Other winterization products you can get include Starbrite and Camco. The benefit of these winterization kits is that they come with items such as an antifreeze jug, including tubing which pumps out moisture as well as antifreeze.

Some of the items which come with a boat winterization kit include antifreeze, tubing which is used to pump out moisture, and an antifreeze jug. If you are looking to buy a boat winterization kit, you can expect to spend anything from $50 to $100.

How Much Does It Cost to Winterize a Boat?

It is true that the cost of winterizing your pricey boat when the cold season sets in can be a drag. However, the cost of not winterizing your boat can be much higher.

If you fail to winterize your boat, you will find that the engine can be ruined by frozen fluids mildew and molds fouling the interior of the boat, cracks in the hull, wiring, and corroded spark plugs.

Ideally, you should expect to pay around $300 for winterizing. However, if you are winterizing a small boat you should expect to pay something like $100 or a lesser amount.

In case, you have a large cabin cruiser or a specialty boat, then the amount you will pay to winterize it is much higher in the region of $500 to $600 or more.

This might seem like an added cost for boat owners but it is cheaper compared to purchasing a new boat.

Do I Have to Winterize My Boat?

In case you live in places that have a warmer climate, then it Is easy to think that you do not have to winterize the boat.

However, despite the warm climate, you should not be surprised when you experience freezing weather which can lead to costly damage if you failed to winterize.

If you stored your boat unwinterized inside the garage all winter, then you should monitor the weather so that in case there is a storm or the temperature drops you have a backup plan which includes a heating source.

It is important to winterize your boat during the cold season because it will save you money in the long run. You need to de-winterize the boat also before Spring.

Additionally, you can winterize your boat because it is not only effective to protect your pricey boat but also you can increase the lifespan of the boat.

In case you did not know, your boat is not just a precious machine but a complex one. During the spring season, you need to inspect if your boat is fine. It cannot be possible for someone to tell if the boat has thawed or frozen parts, but it is possible to see visible damage.

In case you failed to winterize your boat you should be ready for commissioning your boat. Thus winterizing your boat will keep it in a clean and perfect condition which will in turn affect the trade-in and resale value when you decide to upgrade it to the latest model.

If you want to avoid problems in the spring season, you can make a checklist of the things you should do in the cold season such as applying corrosion protection to the boat’s engine, adding fuel stabilizing additive to the fuel system, changing the engine’s fuel system, adding antifreeze to the plumbing system, and removing drain plugs.

What Temperature Do You Need to Winterize Your Boat?

The question of what temperature you need to winterize your boat is on everybody’s lips. It is important to note that the temperature you choose to winterize your boat will determine whether you get the most of your winterization process or not.

According to experts, you should winterize your boat at temperatures between 29 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can I Winterize My Boat Myself?

Yes, you can winterize your boat yourself and only spend a few dollars to complete the job. You do not have to incur the extra cost of hiring an expert to winterize your boat for you.

If you are a handyman, you can winterize your boat yourself. The benefit of this is that you will not only save money but also time. This is because winterizing your boat yourself will take less than one hour, which is less than the time you will spend driving the vessel.

Typically, you should expect to spend anything from $125 to $150 for doing it yourself boat winterization.

However, while you are at it you should not hurry up to get the job done in record time because it could lead to waste.

How Long Does It Take a Boat Winterization?

The length of time it takes to winterize a boat will vary depending on whether it is DIY (do it yourself) or getting the help of a professional. Usually, DIY winterization of your boat will take a shorter time compared to when you seek professional help.

If you are a handyman, it should take you about 4 hours to winterize your boat. This includes draining the ballast system then blowing the lines for the shower and heater, including changing stuff in the engine such as oil change.

What Happens if You Don’t Winterize a Boat?

You may experience a lot of problems if you fail to winterize your boat. First is your engine which may crack and break in case the seawater lines are not properly drained which means that you can have cracked parts. Freshwater cooled engines that come with inadequate anti-freeze can also crack and freeze.

Dirty oil comes with acidic contaminants as well as salt which causes a wide array of problems thanks to corrosion. If you leave unchanged oil including an unflushed engine, it might lead to damage which reduces the lifespan of your boat engine.

The second problem you will experience if you fail to winterize your boat has to do with the batteries. Batteries that are not completely charged at the beginning of winter can completely be discharged before the coming season can damage the life span of the battery.

Third, frozen bilge can sink in your boat in case it is left in the water during the cold season. The problem with frozen water inside the bilge pumps is that they do not go out.

Therefore, if they are run when frozen they will be damaged, while the expansion will lead to expansion and damaged forces from water. Also, through-hulls are in the water and it freezes thus getting damaged or cracked.

The fourth thing that will be affected when you fail to winterize a boat is the deck fittings and hardware. A boat that is left uncovered may have a pile of ice and snow on the decks which lets water inside the deck fittings and stanchion bases as well as other parts that are exposed to external elements. The deck areas that are around fittings may come with cracks which lead to water sipping inside via cracks and openings.

Fifth if you do not winterize your boat you risk it having molds and mildew. This is especially true if the boat is unventilated which traps moisture, leading to mold, mildew, and rot.

In addition, trapped moisture can expose the upholstery, boat canvas, curtains, as well as sails to the risk of mildew and mold. If you leave the boat uncovered it might accumulate dirt during the winter. Also, if you store the boat near trees, you are likely to find filth, rotted leaves, and stained deck during the spring.


To sum it up, you might think that winterizing your boat requires a lot of hard work and that you will spend a lot of money on repairs. However, the truth is that winterizing just before the cold months can save you lots of dollars as well as time.

Failing to winterize your boat in the name of saving your money can prove to be a costly mistake because the water inside your boat can freeze leading to damaged engines, pipes, or the boat itself. The benefit of winterizing your boat is that it will give you the peace of mind that you will not experience any problem when you want to take the boat back into the water.

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