Winterizing Your Boat
Storing Your Boat During WinterCredit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wilmette_Harbor_Boat_Storage.JPG
Unlike your house and car which you could see and check daily during the winter season, boats are more difficult to check. All the same, it is still necessary to properly winterize your boat to insure better performance and longer lifespan. Insurance policies might not include damages caused by mishandling or improper boat maintenance.
For smaller boats, start your boat winterizing by removing your boat from the water and storing it in a covered, dry area. Boats left outside during winter would sooner or later have problems. Heavy snow could damage the scuppers, thru-hull fittings, and gunnels.
Consult the boat manual. Most likely, the methods and recommendations from the manufacturer regarding its winterization is already written there. If you must, you could also get someone who knows how to winterize boats, particularly if you are not totally confident with your skills or if this is your first time to have a boat.
Here are some things to consider when winterizing a boat:
• Keep your boat's fuel tank full. This would see to it that only a small space is left for it to expand. Condensation may cause the fuel to expand which may lead to corrosion and congestion.
• Protect your boat engine. Before changing the oil, run the engine. A warmed up oil will allow for easier removal or drainage of the impurities. Change the oil filters. During the colder months, the oil would sink to the bottom of the engine block which may expose other portions of the engine to humidity and corrosion. This could be avoided by spraying fogging oil and removing spark plugs.
• Outboard engines must be washed with soap and water. Drain the water from the engine subsequently. In addition, extract all fuel from the carburetor.
• Inspect the propeller for necessary repairs. You could have them serviced during the winterization process.
• Clean the interior and exterior areas of the boat. After cleansing the exterior, apply some polish to the surface to protect the boat from grime and dust.
• Drain the water tanks. You could also add a non-toxic antifreeze into the water system.
Besides tanks, water must also be drained from the sea strainer. More often than not, the seawater strainer is not freed of any water. This may damage the seal and will only reveal its damage when spring arrives and bilges is flooded. Also take out any necessary belongings inside your boat, such as valuables, fire extinguishers, flares, buffers and other valuables and electronics. You may have a dehumidifier placed inside the boat so that mildew will not develop in your boat’s interior.
Boat storage during the winter is also a major factor. It is crucial to keep the boat covered. Generally, canvass boat covers of about 8 to 10 ounces of canvass would be sufficient. The bat must also be covered to protect it against dust, soil, and pests. Some boat owners consider shrink-wrapping their boat. You may also choose to purchase do-it-yourself kits for winterizing your boat.