How To Winterize Your Boat
Unless you are lucky enough to be chartering off to the Caribbean this winter you likely are going to be facing some cold, cold weather. Even if you have your boat in a shed or under wrap, this might not be enough to protect it from the wrath of Old Man Winter. So instead be sure to follow these top five tips that will keep your boat looking good as new no matter how much snow is on the ground!
1) Treat Fuel With Stabilizer
During winter storage, the amount of condensation inside your fuel tank builds up. This happens anytime you don’t use it for a long time, but in winter it can be especially harmful as it the condensation freezes causing all kinds of damage. All you need is an ounce to have every 20 gallons of fuel and you’ll be good to go. These two things together will greatly improve the health of your fuel line and engine.
2) Empty Ballast Tanks and Add Antifreeze
Your ballast is your best friend when you are out at sea. It helps keep you stable and is especially helpful when the seas start to get rough. Your ballast, however, freezes during winter. Which again can cause some headaches for you.
Instead, you should empty your ballast tanks and add antifreeze to them, then you’ll be good to go! You don’t even have to drive around to find a special marine formula, RV antifreeze will do the job just as well.
3) Empty the Fuel Tank Completely
This is particularly important if you plan on not hitting the water at all during the winter months. With periodic usage, condensation doesn’t build up that much. But if you don’t plan to use your boat for next three months or more than any water inside of it will freeze. Empty it out and you won’t have to worry at all.
4) Shrink-wrap your boat if possible
This one sounds a little crazy. How does one even go about doing this? Don’t worry you don’t have to go to the grocery store and buy two hundred boxes of plastic wrap. All you have to do is follow a few easy steps and any local hardware store has the tools to help you out. Just measure and get a large roll of wrap, then it’s just a matter of minutes and you’ll be ready for some serious winter storage.
5) Take It Out of the Water
The further north you live, the more important this is. Even some of the saltiest harbors can freeze thanks to the chilly arctic winds blowing down from the north. Just as too much sun is not good for your boat exterior so too is too much cold. And you definitely don’t want ice getting sucked into the engine!
Be Ready to Winterize Your Boat
Winter is already upon us so it is important that you get ready. By following these steps and our other boat maintenance tips, you’ll be in good shape. And of course, like any good captain, you can always make the call to turn the ship around and head South to warmer waters. Instead of snow and ice, why not hit the Keys this January instead?