Posted by Schaefer's Canal House on 10/21/2014
When the boating season is winding down, itís time to start
thinking about protecting your valuable recreational asset. The time and effort
you spend now will have a definite effect on your boat's performance, or lack
of it, and certainly save you time, effort and money come spring. You should
remember that your insurance policy may not cover damage done by lack of
maintenance or neglect.
The best place for your boat to be during the winter is out
of the water, under cover, in a climate-controlled boat storage area. This,
however, can be expensive. If don't have this option perhaps you should
consider shrink-wrapping your boat. This, too, is a little expensive but
provides a very protective cover. Short of these two items, make sure that your
boat is well covered with a tarp or some other sturdy cover.
Your first step in winterizing should be to make a checklist
of all items that need to be accomplished. Check the owner's manual of both
your boat and motor for manufacturer's recommendations on winterization. If you
are a new boat owner, perhaps you should employ the assistance of a friend with
experience in winterizing or hire a professional to do the job.
You should run the engine to warm it up and change the oil
while it is warm. This allows the oil to drain more fully. Make sure you supply
cooling water to the engine via the flushing port. Remove the oil filter and
properly dispose of it as well. Refill the engine, check the level and check it
again for leaks.
Finally, flush the engine with non-toxic antifreeze by using
an intake hose to the water pump. Place the end of the hose in a bucket or
bottle of antifreeze. Start the engine and allow the antifreeze to circulate
until it starts to exit the exhaust. While you're in the engine room you should
also change the fluid in your transmission. Remove spark plugs and use
"fogging oil" to spray into each cylinder. Wipe down the engine with
a shop towel sprayed with a little fogging oil.
Gauge the remaining fuel in the tank and treat it with the
correct amount of a fuel stabilizer.
Flush the engine with fresh water using flush muffs or the
flushing port usually on the back of the engine.
Start the engine and with it running and the cowl removed,
spray fogging solution into the air intakes on the front of the engine.
While its still running, remove the fuel line from the
engine and continue spraying fogging solution until the engine dies. It is
important to run the engine with the fuel line removed to burn all fuel from
the carburetors to prevent build-up of deposits from evaporated fuel.
Apply water resistant grease to propeller shaft and threads.
Change the gear oil in the lower unit.
Lightly lubricate the exterior of the engine or polish with
a good wax.
Wash the engine down with soap and water and rinse
Out of Water Storage
Pressure wash hull, clean barnacles off props and shafts,
rudders, struts and trim tabs.
Clean all thru-hulls and strainers.
Open seacocks to allow any water to drain.
Check the hull for blisters and if you find any that should
be attended make a note to tell your service manager.
Now is a great time to give the hull a good wax job.
Be sure the batteries are fully charged and switches are
In Water Storage
Close all seacocks and check rudder shafts and stuffing
boxes for leaks, tighten or repack as necessary.
Check your battery to make sure it is fully charged, clean
terminals, add water if necessary and make sure your charging system is
Check bilge pumps to ensure they are working and that float
switches properly activate the pumps and that they are not hindered by debris.
Monitor your boat regularly to avoid leaks, or animal
If your mooring area is likely to freeze be sure to suspend
water agitators below it to bring warmer water to the surface so its not iced