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Keep Your Boat Safe In Winter: How And Why to Winterize a Boat

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

As the summer winds down and cool weather comes in the fall, it’s time to think about storing your boat for the winter. Learn how to winterize your boat, and where to find winterizing service near Lake Hartwell in this post. Winterizing a boat will take some time and money for supplies but can save you a headache dealing with insurance and help ensure that when spring rolls around you’ll be good to go with a functioning boat.

Why do you winterize a boat?

Winterizing your boat is the process of removing any liquid inside the engine that could freeze and damage the engine. When water freezes it expands, and this expansion can cause cracks in your engine block which will incur hefty fees to repair! Want to hear an interesting fact? Insurance companies get the most claims related to freezing in the southern states where people tend to think they can get away without winterizing their boat through a cold snap. The truth is that you shouldn’t take a chance on this. No one can predict the weather, and keeping your boat protected in the cold months is well worth any effort.

A row of boats waiting for winterization on Lake hartwell

Don’t neglect to winterize your boat just because we don’t get a lot of freezing weather.

How to Winterize a Boat

Like many things in life, preventative care is better than damage control. The same goes for boats – and don’t forget your jet-ski! Preparing for winter is a must if you want the integrity of your boat to last.

Boat winterizing kit

The first thing to do when preparing to winterize a boat is to gather all necessary supplies. You can easily put together a boat winterizing kit with a few simple items.

  1. A way to flush your engine – try this top rated winterizer

  2. Antifreeze – we recommend this non-toxic brand

  3. A basic toolset with screwdrivers – a kit like this is perfect

There are a handful of steps you need to take to learn how to winterize a boat. It is always a best practice to carefully review your owner’s manual for manufacturer recommendations to winterize your particular model.

However, here are some general tips that will work for most boats.

How to Winterize a Boat Engine

  1. Add fuel stabilizer: Add this to the fuel, top off the tank, and then run it for approximately 10 minutes.

  2. Fill the Tank: Condensation will form if there is room in the tank. Condensation leads to corrosion, which leads to paying out to fix it.

  3. Drain the Engine: For inboards and stern-drives, remove the water pump and drain the water completely. This will stop the water from freezing, expanding, and cracking the manifold.

  4. Change the oil: This will help remove excess moisture, preventing corrosion and other issues.

  5. Antifreeze: Fill the engine block with antifreeze.

  6. Fog the Engine: Using a fog will coat the cylinders and prevent corrosion.

Here is a helpful video that walks you through all these steps.

How to Winterize Other Boat Systems

Those were the most basic steps to take to winterize basic boats. However, you can go further, and must if you have potable water systems, sanitation systems, and air conditioners.

  1. Drain: All of the water lines must be drained, and then protected with anti-freeze. Simply fill a bucket with anti-freeze and let the intake hose take it in.

  2. Sanitation System: For marine boats, this system must be winterized. Here is an in-depth explanation of how to do so.

  3. Fight off Mildew and Mold: Mold and Mildew love humid, moist climates. The cabin of a boat in winter is ideal for this. Use passive or active ventilation to prevent damage to your upholstery, and reduce humidity with moisture-absorbing crystals.

This extensive video will walk you through everything listed above, plus give a few more bonus tips and tricks.

Where to Store a Boat in the Winter

The last thing to take into consideration is storage. Boats can be stored on land or in the water over winter. If stored in water, you’ll want to get a de-icer. If stored on land, you’ll want to be careful about doing all of the winterizing steps correctly. So, which is better? It’s hard to tell.

It is true that boats are more susceptible to freezing issues if stored on land. However, there are risks when boats are stored on the water as well. Your best bet is to keep your boat in a location that makes it easy for you to monitor it regularly. Either way, make sure it stays covered and you’ve winterized the engine to prevent any problems next spring.

Where to Winterize on Lake Hartwell

If you’re sure you’re not ready to take on winterizing a boat yourself, there are a couple of locations on Lake Hartwell where you can have the service performed for you.

Here is a list of marinas on the lake that can take care of winterizing your boat and storing it for the winter or check availability here. Remember, like winterizing your home, winterizing your boat is well worth the effort. Once properly done, your boat can rest all winter long, then be ready to hit the waters again come spring.

Why you must winterize a boat pinterest pin

Pin this to your boating board!

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