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Storing And Winterizing Your Boat

If you live in a colder climate no one likes to see winter come because it means the end of the boating season.  This means you will have to winterize your boat and get it prepared to store before the freeze sets in.  Freezing can crack water lines and cause damage to your boat motor if not properly winterized.  Always check your owners manual for your manufacturer’s recommendations for winterizing your boat.  The following tips will help you get prepared to store your boat for the year.

Inboard Engines

  • Change the oil by first warming up the engine so the oil is warm when you change it.
  • Be sure to change the oil filter along with the oil.
  • Make sure the antifreeze circulates through the manifold
  • While changing the oil, be sure to change the transmission fluid as well.
  • Remove your spark plugs and spay some WD-40 or a fogging oil into the cylinders.
  • Give the motor a good wipe down with a shop cloth and then spray the engine with a fogging oil or WD-40

Outboard Engine

  • Attach a set of flush muffs or “rabbit ears’ to the water pick-up on the lower unit and flush the engine with clean water.
  • Make sure you drain all the water from the engine so residual water does not freeze.
  • Use soap and water and thoroughly wash and rinse the engine.
  • Disconnect the fuel lines and run the engine until it stops.
  • Spray a fogging oil or WD-40 into the cylinders to lubricate the cylinder walls and pistons
  • Lubricate the propeller shaft and threads with a water-resistant grease.
  • Change the gear oil in the lower unit.

Stern Drive

  • Give the stern drive a thorough inspection looking for any cracks or missing bolts.
  • Drain the gear case paying particular attention to the oil to see if it contains excessive moisture.
  • Some units have a boot that should be inspected for cracks or pinholes.
  • Clean the lower unit with soap and water
  • Check the fluid levels in the hydraulic steering or lift pumps and grease all fittings.

Taking good care of your boat for the winter is key to a successful spring start to your boating season.