HOW TO WINTERIZE A BOAT?
At the end of the boating season, you will want to take a few steps to get your boat ready for winter storage. This will help with performance when it is time to take your boat on the water again come spring. Completing these tasks before you store your boat for the winter will also save you money in the long run as a boat owner. Although there are some differences when it comes to winterizing a stern drive, gas inboard and a outboard motor, here are a few steps common to most boats.
Step 1: Fuel Treatment
You should add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank to prevent fuel deterioration. Then run the engine for at least 10 minutes to help the stabilizer circulate throughout the system. By adding a stabilizer, you can prevent the carburetors and fuel injectors from clogging. Next you need to fill the tank with fresh fuel to prevent corrosion from moisture.
Step 2: Change the Oil
Change the engine oil and eliminate any moisture which can cause corrosion. Moisture can lead to your boat wearing down more quickly and even engine failure.
Step 3: Fog the Engine Cylinders
After you have treated the fuel and changed the oil, you will want to fog the engine cylinders. You can use an aerosol solution and spray it down the carburetor while the engine runs. Shut off the fuel line to burn up remaining fuel in the fuel-injection system. Once the engine stops, pull the spark plugs and squirt some fogging oil into the cylinders. Rotate the engine a few times for a good oil coating and reinstall the plugs. This will coat the inside of the engine and prevent corrosion from forming while your boat is docked through the winter.
Step 4: Flush and Drain the Engine
After fogging the engine cylinders, flush with clean water by using water muffs or a similar device to connect a garden hose to your cooling system. Draining the engine will keep any water from freezing in the cooling chambers once the temperature outside drops. This step is for inboard and stern drives because outboard engines will self drain.
Step 5: Fresh Water Systems
Drain your freshwater tank and then run a non-toxic propylene glycol antifreeze through the system. You can do this by turning the pump off after draining and pouring in around five gallons of propylene glycol antifreeze. Next turn the pump back on and open the hot water spout farthest away from the pump until you see the antifreeze coming out. Then close the hot water spout and open the corresponding cold water spout until you see antifreeze. Working your way towards the pump, repeat this process for all water fixtures. Don't forget to turn the pump off once again when you are finished.
Step 6: Sanitation System
Empty the sanitation system and fill with antifreeze. Start by flushing the holding tank with fresh water. Next remove the raw water intake hose and place in antifreeze. Then circulate antifreeze through the lines to the holding tank and return the hose. Also make sure the raw water strainer is purged and filled with antifreeze.
Step 7: Remove Valuables
Before you dock your boat for any extended period of time, you always want to do a thorough check for any valuables that might have been left on board.
Step 8: Clean & Wax
Lastly you should clean, wax and cover your boat before storing it away for the winter months. This will keep any build up from causing damage.