The first step in winterizing your boat should be to make a list of all the tasks to be accomplished. You want to make sure you don't leave anything out. Be sure to check your owner's manual for their recommendations on what needs to be done to winterize your specific boat. Below is a list of general tips that everyone should follow when winterizing their boat.
General Boat Winterizing Tips
1. Inboard Engines - You'll want to change the oil before storing your boat for the winter. To change the oil, heat up the oil first by running the engine for awhile. The warm oil allows for impurities to drain away. While you're changing the oil filter, you'll also want to flush it out with fresh water. Then be sure to re-fill the oil to proper levels and check for any leaks. Then flush the engine with non-toxic antifreeze by using an intake hose to the water pump. Start the engine and allow the antifreeze to circulate. In addition, you should change the transmission fluid, as well as remove the spark plugs and spray each cylinder with fogging oil.
2. Outboard Engines - Flush the engine with fresh water using flush muffs or the flushing port usually on the back of the engine. Then start the engine, and while it's running with the cowl removed, spray fogging solution into the air intakes on the front of the engine. Then remove the fuel line from the engine and continue spraying fogging solution until the engine dies. This step is important because you don't want any fuel in the carburetors. By removing the fuel, you'll prevent build-up of deposits from evaporated fuel. Finally you'll want to apply water resistant grease to the propeller shaft and threads, change the gear oil in the lower unit and lightly lubricate the exterior of the engine or polish with a good wax.
3. Stern Drives - Thoroughly inspect the stern drive to remove any plant life or other debris. Drain the gear case and check for moisture in the oil. Moisture could indicate leaking seals that would need to be repair before boat use in the spring. Clean the lower unit with soap and water. If your stern has rubber boots, check for cracks or pinholes. Finally grease all fittings and check fluid levels in hydraulic steering or lift pumps.
4. Bilges - Use hot water, soap and a stiff brush to clean up any oil spills. Once the bilges are clean, spray them with a moisture displacing lubricant and add a little antifreeze to keep any water from freezing.
6. Fresh Water System - You'll want to completely drain the fresh water tank and hot water heater. Isolate the hot water by disconnecting the in and out lines to then connect them together. Pump a non-toxic antifreeze into the system and run all faucets until the antifreeze is coming out. You'll also want to put some non-toxic antifreeze into the water heater.
7. Head - Pump out the holding tank at an approved facility. While pumping, add fresh water to the bowl and flush it several times. Use the recommended solution in your owners manual to let sit for a few minutes before flushing with fresh water again. Pump non-toxic antifreeze through hoses, holding tank, y-valve, macerator and discharge hose. Check your owners manual to make sure the type of antifreeze being used won't damage your system.
8. Interior - Once you've taken care of everything to do with the system, remove any valuables, electronics, lines, PFD, fire extinguishers, flares, fenders, etc. to be cleaned and checked over the winter, and then replaced if needed. Open all doors and lockers to make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned before you lock it up for the winter. Turn any cushions up on edge to help air circulate around them or better yet bring them home with you to keep them in the best shape possible. Open and clean the refrigerator and freezer. To keep your boat dry and mildew-free throughout the winter, you might want to install a dehumidifier or use some of the commercially available odor and moisture absorbing products.
9. Batteries - Disconnect the battery cables and remove the battery from the boat. Clean the battery and terminal ends with a water and baking soda solution. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with clean water. Apply a light coat of grease on the terminal end of the battery and cables. Store the battery in a cool, dry place with a trickle charger to keep it charged through the winter to it's ready to go in the spring.
In addition to winterizing your boat, you'll want to make sure your boat lift is also prepared for the cold weather to come. This is one aspect of winterizing that many people often forget. At Summerset Boat Lifts, we pride ourselves in great service and that's what sets us apart from everyone else. We want our customers to relax knowing their boat lift at the Lake of the Ozarks will make it through the winter! Contact us today at 573-348-5073 to have us check your lift out for proper operation and any maintenance needs prior to your boat being winterized!
1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO 65065
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