No one likes to hear that inevitable 4 letter word this time of the year but someone has to be the bearer of bad news and say “SNOW”! Unless you plan on packing up the kids, dog and house and moving somewhere very far south it is time to start thinking about how you can protect your boat for the winter! Winterizing your boat will cost you a LOT less money and time than fixing the damage in the spring and taking a chance on ruining your boating season!
The most important reason to winterize you boat is so that you don’t freeze your motor over the winter and ruin it. It is especially crucial to do this because today’s gasoline is ethanol enhanced and will absorb any moisture caused inside the tank by temperature changes. When the temperature goes low enough to freeze it causes the gasoline to un-bond with the ethanol and form a water-ethanol combination that will settle to the bottom of your engine and not only eat away at the tank but also the welded seams.
If you have a 4-stroke engine you are even more susceptible to damage as the 4-stroke engine does not have the oily residue that the traditional 2-stroke engine had causing problems such as poor idle, lower compression and/or increased oil consumption.
The first thing you need to do is make a list of everything that either needs to be fixed, replaced or upgraded. You can tackle all of this on your own using your owner’s manual or a “how to” you find on the internet but if you are anything like me you are better leaving it to the professionals and taking it to your boat dealer.
Just remember that boats that are stored out of the water either in a boatyard or on a trailer are even more susceptible to freezing because they are completely exposed to freezing air temperatures and don’t have the water’s moderating influence. A temperature below freezing is more likely to crack an engine block so it is very important to winterize your boat well before the earliest freeze to save yourself replacing an engine come spring!