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How to Winterize Your Boat in 5 Easy Steps

Updated: Jan 10

winter boat

Winter is here! If you haven't done so already, now is the time to make sure your boat is ready for the coldest months on the Gulf Coast. Hopefully our northern friends have already done this, but if not- its a great time to double check. Winterizing your boat is not only important for protecting it from freeze damage, but also for ensuring that it runs smoothly and safely when you’re ready to hit the water again in the spring. Here are five easy steps to winterize your boat, courtesy of CoastEase Captain Services.


Step 1: Clean Your Boat

Before you store your boat for the winter, give it a thorough cleaning inside and out. Remove growth and paint the the hull. Wash the deck, cockpit, and canvas with mild soap and water, and rinse well. Remove any dirt, stains, or salt deposits that can cause corrosion or damage the gelcoat. Wax the hull and deck to protect them from UV rays and moisture. Vacuum the interior, wipe down the upholstery, and remove any food, drinks, or personal items. Apply a mildew inhibitor to prevent mold and fungus growth.



clean your hull from barnacles


Step 2: Drain Your Boat

Water is the enemy of your boat in the winter, as it can freeze and expand, cracking pipes, hoses, tanks, and engine parts. To prevent this, you need to drain your boat of any water that may be trapped in its systems. Start by opening all the drains and seacocks, and pumping out the bilge. Then, drain the freshwater system, including the water tank, water heater, faucets, showers, and toilets. Add non-toxic antifreeze to the freshwater system to protect it from freezing. Next, drain the engine cooling system, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Add antifreeze to the engine as well, either by running it through a hose or by pouring it into the cylinders. Finally, drain the fuel system, including the fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel filters, and carburetors. Add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank to prevent phase separation and gum formation.


boat engine

Step 3: Lubricate Your Boat

Lubrication is essential for keeping your boat’s moving parts in good condition and preventing rust and corrosion. Start by changing the engine oil and filter, as well as the transmission fluid and filter. Then, lubricate the engine’s cylinders, pistons, and rings with fogging oil, either by spraying it into the air intake or by removing the spark plugs and spraying it directly into the cylinders. Next, lubricate the steering system, throttle and shift cables, hinges, latches, and locks with marine grease or spray lubricant. Finally, lubricate the lower unit or sterndrive, by removing the drain plug and letting the old gear oil drain out. Replace the drain plug and fill the lower unit or sterndrive with fresh gear oil, using a pump or a squeeze bottle.


cleaning boat

Step 4: Protect Your Boat

Once your boat is clean, dry, and lubricated, you need to protect it from the elements and pests. Start by removing the battery and storing it in a cool, dry place. Charge the battery periodically or use a trickle charger to keep it from losing power. Next, remove the propeller and inspect it for any damage, such as dents, bends, or cracks. Clean the propeller and apply a coat of grease to the shaft. Store the propeller in a safe place, away from moisture and theft. Then, cover your boat with a quality boat cover that fits snugly and securely. Make sure the cover has vents or openings to allow air circulation and prevent condensation. If possible, store your boat in a sheltered location, such as a garage, a shed, or a boatyard. If you store your boat outdoors, make sure it is on a level surface and supported by jack stands or a trailer. Avoid parking your boat under trees or power lines that may fall or cause damage.



Step 5: Relax and Enjoy the Winter

snow anchor

Congratulations, you have successfully winterized your boat! Now you can relax and enjoy the winter, knowing that your boat is safe and ready for the next boating season.


If you are out of town and need any help with winterizing your boat, or if you are looking for a professional captain to deliver, charter, or train you on your boat, contact CoastEase Captain Services today. We are a team of experienced and certified captains who can handle any boating needs you may have.


CoastEase - Captains for Yacht Delivery, Charters and Hands on Boat Training. Professionalism. Experience. CoastEase.


CoastEase Captain Services

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