Sadly, boating season in coming to an end. The days of zooming down the water on your boat while letting the wind whip through your hair are dwindling, and it will soon be time to put your favorite “grown-up toy” away for the winter.
After you take that glorious final ride of the year, and before you stow your boat away, you need to prepare it for the upcoming offseason. Allowing the boat to simply sit in a garage for several months without properly preparing it can cause great damage to the vessel. Golden Eagle suggests taking the following steps to prepare your boat for the winter to assure it will be ready to go as soon as the warm weather returns and you are ready to use it again.
Replace the engine oil
Before you put your boat away for the winter, replace the engine oil. If the oil sits in an unused engine for a prolonged period of time, moisture and acids will build up and cause bearings and other essential engine parts to pit. Drain the old engine while the boat is still in the water, so the old oil and impurities drain out more easily. Replace that with the oil that is recommended by your boat’s manufacturer.
Flush and drain cooling water
Water will expand when it freezes, so it is essential that you remove any water from the engine. The method of removing the water differs depending on the type of engine your boat has. Inboard and sterndrive engines require flushing the engine with a garden hose and then removing the drain plugs. If you have an outboard engine, make sure the drain plugs are open and simply flush the engine with water.
Fuel can start to deteriorate after only a few months. Once it deteriorates, gum and varnish begin to build up in the engine, resulting in hard-starting, poor performance, and reduced engine life. When a boat sits unused for an extended period of time, it is easy for these issues to crop up. Simply adding a fuel stabilizer prevents deterioration from occurring.
Protect internal engine components
When a boat is stored for a long period of time, the engine oil begins to drain away causing the engine components to be exposed to the harsh elements of the winter. Using a fogging oil spray can help prevent the corrosion that can result from this exposure by coating the parts with an anti-corrosive compound.
Replace gear oil
Drain the old gear oil and replace it with fresh oil. This is the perfect time to check for signs of moisture contamination. If water comes out before the oil, or if it is milky and lumpy, replace the seals before the next boating season begins.
Grease and lubricate
Grease and lubricate the fittings to protect against rust, corrosion, and oxidation. Consult your owner’s manual to make sure you have treated every area before you store the boat for the winter.
Remove your valuables
Boat storage locations have little traffic during the off season. So, they are prime spots for vandals to target. Removing all of your valuables, including electronic equipment, makes your boat less likely to be targeted by would-be thieves. Even if you store your boat in a more secure location, such as your own garage, removing your valuables is a wise preventive measure.
Clean and wax
It may seem counter-intuitive to clean and wax your boat before you store if for the winter. But, it truly is a wise idea. Taking advantage of a beautiful fall day and hand-washing your boat will help to assure that it is not gritty and grimy when you are ready to use it again next season. Plus, you will not want to take the time to clean and wax the boat when you would rather be out sailing. So, getting it done at the end of the season allows you to have more sailing time later.
Your boat needs to be protected from the harsh elements of the winter. Your best bet is to keep it in dry storage. If you cannot afford that option, make sure your boat is protected by a large weatherproof cover or is shrink wrapped.
Making sure your boat is insured is a year-round responsibility. Make sure you have sufficient coverage that protects you from accidents and physical damage. Having adequate boat insurance is an important part of being a responsible boat owner and operator.
If sure your boat is properly winterized, you can rest assured that you will be able to enjoy your watercraft when the boating season comes. If you need boat or yacht insurance, Marine Agency is here to serve you. We offer a wide range of coverage options to fit the needs of any watercraft enthusiast. We have been a leader in the insurance industry for almost a century because we offer comprehensive and customizable coverage at affordable rates.
If you are interested in obtaining insurance and would like to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable professionals, please visit our Marine Agency website, or give us a call at 800-763-4775 to get a quote today!