Prepping the Boat for Winter
Every boat owner knows the value of routine maintenance. This is true in the warm months when your boat is active and before the off-season when your boat is in storage. Neither the cold weather nor storing your boat for months is good for the well-being of your boat, but there are steps you can take to protect your boat and minimize the maintenance needed before the next season. Below are some general tips to help you prep your boat for winter. Refer to your owner’s manual for more details on how to care for your boat.
Clean the Boat
Give your boat a good cleaning, including the trim and hardware, and repair any damage. Cleaning your boat can prevent deterioration of the vessel’s materials. A boat that is cleaned before storing will be out on the water much quicker in the spring.
Change the Oil
Your used oil contains contaminates, which can cause harm over long periods of storage. So, changing the oils and filters in the engine, generator and transmission before the boat is stored 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, fill up the fuel tank and add a stabilizer to prevent condensation. Stabilizing fuel properly is especially important with the presence of E10 fuel.[i]
Prepare Cooling System & Loosen Drive Belt
Drain your coolant and flush out the cooling system with water, then add biodegradable antifreeze to prevent freezing and corrosion during the winter. Because a tight drive belt may crack or break under tension for long periods of time, loosen your drive belt or remove it completely before storing.
It may be tempting to cancel your insurance to cut costs while your boat is in storage, but think carefully. 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 be exposed to theft, weather damage and more. Consider adding our off-season coverage endorsement to your watercraft policy, which provides more coverage options that work for you.
Properly winterizing your boat can prevent costly and time-consuming repairs. These tips will ensure your boat is ready for action after winter storage. Call your local Alfa® agent today to discuss coverage options for your watercraft insurance policy.
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[i] According to BoatingMag.com