By Lauren Eve | Photo by Holly Leitner
If you’re a boat owner, autumn can be an incredible time on the lake, with cooler temps, fewer crowds and beautiful scenery to enjoy. But as the temps get colder and winter approaches, it is crucial to start preparing your boat for the off-season. By winterizing your boat now, you will ensure it remains in excellent condition, ready to hit the water again when spring arrives.
We’ve asked the experts what steps they recommend for winterizing your boat to provide an easy transition from one boating season to the next. Below, employees from Jerry’s Majestic Marine in Fontana and Gage Marine in Williams Bay give their quick and easy checklists to help you prepare your boat for winter.
- Ensure that your boat is completely dry by taking out all wet items, such as towels and life jackets.
- Make sure there is no water in your bilge, so the bilge pump doesn’t freeze during the winter.
- Clean any surface dirt from your boat by wiping down all cushions, covered areas, fiberglass and dashboard areas.
- Clean the exterior of your boat using soap and water to wash off any debris.
- Remove all marine growth from the bottom of your boat.
- Cover or trim your propeller cavity so that it won’t fill with water or snow.
- If your boat has a built-in refrigerator, remove all food and drink, and prop open the fridge door for good air circulation.
- If your boat has a cabin with air conditioning, add hydrogen peroxide to the air conditioner condensation pan to prevent algae overgrowth.
- If your boat has a head (bathroom), pump and flush your waste system thoroughly before adding antifreeze.
- Inspect your boat for any necessary repairs during the off-season.
As always, if you are not comfortable winterizing your boat yourself, it is best to call a professional for assistance. Marine professionals will have the expertise and knowledge, as well as the required materials, equipment and expert staff to take care of all types of boats. Whether you choose the DIY route or hire a marine professional, good boat winterization practices will ensure that you won’t miss a beat when boating season rolls around again.