Don’t Make These Costly Mistakes When Winterizing Your Boat

Boat owners obviously love all the fun and enjoyment afforded to them by their boats. It might be about fishing, catching your favorite fish with your closest friends, whether competitive or strictly recreational. Or the boat might be used for cruising and recreational boat rides, intended for bonding time with the family and loved ones, just quality time with the people that matter the most to the boat owner. Those are more than enough reasons for anyone to love his boat and make sure that it is well taken care of, otherwise he might not be able to enjoy it too long.

The proper maintenance of a boat should take precedence above most of the other concerns about the vessel. Without the proper knowledge and capacity to maintain the boat the right way and care for it in such a way that any wear and tear will be reduced to a minimum. This will ensure that boat owners will save precious time, trouble, and of course expense, with respect to the condition of their boat. In the long run it would mean that they would be able to enjoy the boat and the time and moments that they will be spending on it, along with friends and family. Part of this maintenance and care is winterizing the boat, preparing it for the possible harshness of an upcoming winter.

Winterization – What is it and why Do it?

Even though many might already be familiar with the term winterization and what it is for, it is equally true to say that a lot are not yet well informed about what it is exactly. Winterization is actually the process of thoroughly and properly preparing something for an upcoming winter. While this term is usually associated with fountains and other forms of aquatic play features, it is also used for referring to various other things, like cabins and cottages, also known as summer homes. And then equipment also undergoes winterization, such as the kind that is done for boats to help keep it safe and protected all throughout the winter period. To winterize the boat properly is one of the major steps in maintaining and taking care of the boat properly.

You might think that putting away a boat for several months without being able to use it properly, then you are probably not too keen on boating or did not really purchase out of love for the activities connected to it. The onset of weather can be pretty bad news for your boat, if it is not properly prepared to meet the circumstances and situations that are peculiar to the harsh, cold weather. Your boat would be dealing with corrosion, cracked blocks and other similar conditions that would ultimately be disastrous for your vessel. And it would be best if everything would be taken care of before winter time has already arrived, meaning the needs of your boat for proper winterization should be met during the fall. The best time would probably be at the onset of fall, and not wait towards its latter end, to start preparing the boat for hibernation.

Winterize It – Protecting Your Boat

Preparation is the key for many things, and it is no different when it comes to how you deal with coming of winter when it comes to your boat. Winterize it properly, and do not commit any costly mistake. The following should help you carry that out:

Mind the Hull – The first thing that you need to be aware of is that winterizing your boat is not really that simple of a process. There is a little of complication to it, as it is not as simple as just throwing a coat of paint on your boat and then think that it is already done. No, it is much more complex than that, although it is does not require engineering or higher mathematics to it. But there is a method to it, and it involves the entirety of your boat. You must proceed to check out the hull, with an eye for stress cracks and gel coat blisters. Stress cracks are usually found around the bow eye, and can be indicative of structural damage which should be referred to an expert. Aluminum made hulls need to have the drum banged slowly for the dents to be fixed. Pressure washing should be done to take care of the dirt and sea scum. This should be done as thoroughly as possible. Scraping and sanding should be the answer needed to rid the boat bottom of barnacles and others like it.

About the Engine – Surely, one of your biggest concerns about your boat for the oncoming winter is the effect it will have on your boat’s engine. The engine being one of the boat’s most important parts, you are well justified with your concerns. The usual concerns that winter brings when it comes to engines are corrosion, fuel degradation, and of course freezing. Check everything that you can: hose condition, replacing any that has problems; loose or frayed connections, and clamps; belt condition, adjusting tension when needed; prevent corrosion by touching up the paint; run it to temperature, then change the oil and filter. Fresh water should be used for flushing the engine, using the attachment for garden hose present in some outboards. The engine should be idle while being flushed with water and it should be allowed to drain completely. The engine internals need to be protected from rust and corrosion by spray fogging oil down the carburetor while the engine is running and removing the engine flame arrestor.

Interior Matters – The interior of your boat matters a lot, especially since that is one of the areas where you will be staying the longest, and you certainly don’t want to be surprised once spring comes along and you peek inside and see some unsightly and unpleasant surprises. The humid or dry winter air can spell trouble for vinyl interiors, which is usually what boat interiors are made of. Cleaners that are specifically made for vinyl are available in the form of gels and sprays. Mold and mildew are among the most hated enemies of boats and its owners who are storing it away for the winter. Sprays for mildew is the answer to this specific problem, but the key to minimize or prevent mildew is venting boat covers to allow for good airflow, minimizing any moisture that might be trapped. The right choice of boat covers always help and you need to make sure that the cover protects the waterline. A good choice would be a polytarp cover, but it needs to be used with a frame for even distribution of the snow’s weight, and keep it away from the boat’s weaker areas. Another nice choice would be a polyvinyl cover, mostly for its water repellence and mildew and stain resistance.

Mistakes to Avoid When Winterizing Your Boat

Boat owners who are going to store and winterize their boats for the duration of the winter are apt to commit some mistakes. It would therefore be necessary to remember some pointers about the mistakes that are usually committed by boat owners, and which they need to avoid.

• Always remember to store your boat with a cover on it. If you don’t, then you might be surprised to find it underwater when you visit it once springtime comes. Drains in the cockpits might clog up with debris, pushing it underwater after accumulating too much of it.

• If you store your boat ashore, then you might be surprised to find that the engine block is frozen due to an unexpected cold spell. The engine block might be kept a little warmer if the boat is stored in the water.

• It is not advisable to use dodgers or Biminis as boat cover when you are going to store your vessel for the winter. Those are just not apt for winterization and are used mostly as covers for sun and spray. The dodgers and Biminis just wouldn’t hold up during winter.