Safety and Weather, Seasonal
How to Winterize Your Boat
As a boat owner, you know the value of regular maintenance. It’s especially important in the warm months when you’re actively boating, and it’s just as critical before you put your boat in storage for the off-season.
While storing your boat for months in cold weather isn’t ideal, there are protective steps you can take prior to storage to minimize maintenance needs when the warm weather returns. Here are some general tips to help you winterize your boat. (Refer to your owner’s manual for more details on how to care for your boat.)
Clean your boat thoroughly
Give your boat a good cleaning, including the trim and hardware, and repair any damage. Cleaning your boat before storing it can prevent deterioration of the vessel’s materials and will get you back on the water much quicker in the spring.
Change the oil
Used boat oil carries contaminates, which can cause harm over long periods of storage. Changing the oils and filters in the engine, generator and transmission before storing the boat is a good idea, even if you haven’t reached the recommended hours for an oil change.
Fill the fuel tank
After your last ride of the season, Boating magazine recommends filling up the fuel tank and adding a stabilizer to prevent condensation. It’s especially important to stabilize fuel properly when using E10 fuel.
Prepare the cooling system
Drain your coolant and flush out the cooling system with water, then add manufacturer’s recommended antifreeze to prevent freezing and corrosion during the winter.
Loosen the drive belt
A tight drive belt may crack or break if under tension for long periods of time, so loosen it or remove it completely before storing.
Stay insured, even in the winter
It may be tempting to cancel your insurance to cut costs while your boat is in storage, but don’t do it. If you’ve financed your watercraft, your lender may require year-round boat insurance coverage. And even though your boat is taking a break, it could still fall victim to theft, weather damage and more. Consider adding an off-season coverage endorsement to your watercraft policy, which provides more coverage options that work for you.
Properly winterizing your boat for storage can prevent costly and time-consuming repairs. By following these tips, you’ll be ready for action at the first sign of spring. Contact your local Alfa® agent today to learn about coverage options for your watercraft insurance policy.