As summer fades, time to store, winterize your boat so it will be ready in spring

By BoatSafe.com
   As the boating season winds down, it is time to start thinking about protecting your valuable recreational asset. The time and effort you spend now will have a definite effect on your boat’s performance, or lack of it, and certainly save you time, effort and money come spring.
   The best place for your boat to be during the winter is out of the water, under cover, in a climate-controlled boat storage area. If this is not an option, make sure that your boat is well covered with a tarp or some other sturdy cover.
   Check the owner’s manual of your boat and motor(s) for manufacturer’s recommendations on winterization. The following is a generic outline of areas which should be of concern to you, however, there are many resources on the Internet with more detailed and specific information.
   Outboard Engine(s) – Flush engine with fresh water using flush muffs or similar device attached to the raw water pickup. Let all water drain from the engine. Wash engine down with soap and water and rinse thoroughly.
   Fuel – Fill your fuel tank(s) to avoid a build up of condensation over the winter months. Add a fuel stabilizer by following the instructions on the product. Change the fuel filter(s) and water separator(s). You should consult your owner’s manual for the manufacturers recommendations on how to handle fuel in your winterization process. Use fogging oil in the cylinders to lubricate the cylinder walls and pistons. Apply water resistant grease to propeller shaft and threads. Change the gear oil in the lower unit. Lightly lubricate the exterior of the engine or polish with a good wax.
   Batteries – Disconnect the battery cables, remove the battery from the boat. Clean the terminal ends and battery with a solution of baking soda and water, 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. Use a trickle charger to keep battery charged.
   Interior – Once you have taken care of the system you should remove any valuables, electronics, lines, PFD, fire extinguishers, flares, fenders, etc. Over the winter these items can be cleaned, checked and replaced as necessary. Open all drawers and lockers and clean thoroughly. Turn cushions up on edge so that air is able to circulate around them or, better yet, bring them home to a climate controlled area.
   Out of Water Storage – pressure wash hull, clean props and shafts, rudders, struts and trim tabs. Clean all thru-hulls and strainers. Open seacocks to allow any water to drain. Check the hull for blisters and if you find any that should be attended to you might want to open them to drain over the winter. While you’re at it, why not give the hull a good wax job?
   In Water Storage – Check your battery to make sure it is fully charged, clean terminals, add water if necessary and make sure your charging system is working. Make sure either to check your boat periodically or have the marina check it and report to you. If in an area where the water you are docked or moored in actually freezes, you should have a de-icing device or bubbling system around your boat.
   Do not neglect to consult your owner’s manuals for manufacture’s recommendations on winterizing your boat and other systems.

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