Winterizing your boat is essential.
Invest in maintaining your boat every winter, and it will pay you back with HUGE wakes every spring and summer.
The consequences can be brutal if you store your boat without properly winterizing it. Plus, your insurance may not cover the cost of repairs if the damage was due to neglect or lack of maintenance.
The steps to winterize your boat are a little more complicated than just storing your boat correctly and draining the fuel. But doing it right will save you mucho dinero, frustration, and heartache when spring comes around. Here's a few common problems you can run into if you fail to winterize your boat properly (and what to do about them):
1. You may end up with a dead battery come spring if you didn’t fully charge it for the winter. The battery will naturally lose some charge over the winter (and it could freeze!) but it should start up nicely if you have given it a full charge.
2. Snow or water can crack the gear case where the exhaust comes out through the prop if you don't winterize your engine.
3. Cold temps cause condensation which can mess up the crankshaft bearings and wiring. Also, watch out for a cracked manifold, which is extremely expensive to replace.
4. Most boats use fuel with ethanol, and because of this, the fuel tank can attract condensation and can subsequently damage your engine if not winterized appropriately. Adding fuel stabilizer will prevent the fuel from gumming up the engine.
5. Some boats can withstand the cold weather better than others. Besides obvious weather hazards like strong storms, keep in mind that the cold temperatures can harm the interior and the exterior, not just the engine. Be sure to cover your boat for the winter to protect the interior of the boat, including the steering and upholstery, from the elements.
Winterizing is a necessary evil for all of us boaters. Just do it. Take the necessary steps NOW to ensure your boat is in good working order when you fire it up in the spring!
Got a horror story about not winterizing your boat? Share it in the comments!