If you own a pleasure boat – whether it’s a powerboat or sailboat and large or small – winterizing your boat is an important part of boat ownership. Below is information taken from the October/November issue of Boat U.S. magazine – if you’d like more information, contact our La Conner Marina office staff.
Create your personalized winterizing checklist. Start by reading through your owner’s manuals to find the specific winterizing to-dos for all your equipment. Don’t just pull out your engine manual. You’ll need to add to-do items for everything from deck-washdown pumps to refrigeration, and your boat owner’s manual may include other items as well. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have a comprehensive checklist tailored specifically to your boat.
Put together your winter refit list. Take your boat out for one last spin and try to remember all those little things that bothered you over the summer. Did a leak soak a cushion down below? Maybe you have some deck fittings or a hatch that needs rebedding. Was your depth sounder unreliable? Making a list to work on over the winter will mean fewer ‘surprises’ next spring during your shakedown cruise.
Tuck your boat in. You may choose to leave your boat in the water, tied snugly into her berth at the dock, or on the hard, either blocked up in a hardstand area or on a trailer. Whichever option you choose, make sure she’s set up well to handle the strong winds that often accompany winter storms, as well as the possibility of freezing temperatures. If you’re leaving your boat in the water, your lines need to be protected against chafe and set up to keep the boat away from the dock. If the boat will be blocked up on the hard, check that the jackstands have been placed on firm ground to take the boat’s weight evenly, and are chained together so one cannot slide out from under the hull.
Clean out. Once you’ve secured the boat in her winter berth, it’s time to get her shipshape to minimize the unpleasant surprises come spring. Empty the icebox and all food storage areas. Don’t forget the metal and plastic containers holding liquids, which can burst in freezing temperatures. Wash dishes, pots, pans, linens, blankets, curtains, and rugs. Store fabrics at home along with cushions and pillows to keep them fresh and mold-free. Take electronics home. Not only will that prevent theft, but large swings in temperature can create damage. Send your fire extinguishers to be inspected, and take the batteries out of anything you’ll be leaving aboard like clocks and flashlights.
Clean up and clear the air. To keep the boat mold-free and smelling fresh all winter, leave the interior doors and lockers open so air can circulate. If you’re covering the boat and have a small, relatively protected portlight in the head or in the cockpit footwell, leave it open to increase the airflow. If your boat has suffered from mold in the past, put out some desiccant like DampRid.
Winterize your engine. Your engine manual will have detailed winterizing instructions. Empty small gasoline tanks if at all possible. Add fuel stabilizer to large, integral tanks and then top them off. Top off diesel fuel tanks to limit condensation. Change your engine oil and replace all filters. Check hoses, belts, and clamps; clean strainers. Open and close all thru-hulls. If the boat’s in the water, leave them closed (except those on cockpit drains); if out of the water, leave them open.
Mooring your boat somewhere else but would like it to be closer to the San Juans and Canada? We’d love to show you around the La Conner Marina and all we have to offer for in-water (covered and uncovered), as well as on-the-hard, moorage options. Give our office a call at (360) 466-3118.