Boating Winter Wrap-Up

For many, October marks the end of boating season. As sad of a time as it is, it is a great time to not only winterize but to perform annual maintenance in preparation for dry storage. 
Because proper maintenance is one of the key components to being a happy boat owner, we searched high and low to put together a comprehensive checklist that will help you winterize your boat so that you do not come back to any unexpected surprises next year. Remember to always read your owner’s manual for all repair and maintenance.
Cleaning a dirty hull with BOAT Magic
1.    Thoroughly wash the motor and boat hull removing all stains and dirt. If your boat has been wet docked, use Boat Magic® to clean your hull (in the absence of an ablative coating). For full instructions on using BOAT Magic, click here.
2.    Once fully clean, wax painted surfaces.
3.    Cover boat with a high-quality, breathable cover. Boat wraps are also good, but can be expensive.
4.    Remove the propeller and check for damage (now is a much better time to replace or service a damaged propeller than the start of next season).
5.    Clean the propeller shaft and apply a protective coating of grease. BOAT Magic is excellent for removing marine stains. Be careful to protect zinc surfaces, however.
1.    Install a dehumidifier in cabin and enclosed areas to prevent mold growth.
2.    Make sure bilges are clean and dry.
3.    Remove bilge drain plug and make a note of where you have placed it (attach the plug in a spot you will look first in a few months, so you don’t forget to reinstall it).
4.    If your vessel is equipped with a marine head, be sure to drain and clean. If buildup is present, clean toilet with BOAT Magic. For complete instructions click here.
1.     Inspect and repair all electrical wiring and connections. Make sure nothing was damaged during the season’s use.
2.    Remove boat batteries and store in a cool dry place. Place batteries on a smart charger, or charge them once a month.
1.    Change crankcase and gearcase oil while the engine is warm and run the motor after to distribute the fresh oil.
2.    Change oil filters.
3.    For closed coolant systems, flush the engine with fresh water and drain, then circulate antifreeze through engine block and manifolds.
4.    For seawater-cooled systems, flushing the raw water system is recommended. Use BOAT Magic to thoroughly flush the engine. Once complete, remove hoses and allow to dry. For complete instructions, click here.
5.    Circulate antifreeze through engine block and manifolds.
6.    Drain vapor separator tank of fuel by drain screw (only on fuel injected motors).
7.    Drain the carburetor float bowls (only on carbureted motors).
8.    Change transmission fluid (inboards).
9.    Fog the engine by spraying fogging fluid into each of the carburetors or throttle body throats.
10.  Replace spark plugs and spray fogging fluid into spark plug ports.
11.  Perform a complete lubrication service on the boat and motor.
12.  Apply grease to all external engine fittings.
13.  Apply protective anti-corrosion film to engine’s external parts.
14.  Check for any loose fasteners, or broken or missing fasteners. Tighten and/or make the necessary repairs.
Fuel Systems
1.    Fill permanently installed fuel tank with fuel to prevent the formation of condensation.
2.    Add appropriate amount of fuel stabilizer to fuel tanks.
3.    Remove portable fuel tanks to safe, well-ventilated area. Drain plastic tanks and top off metal tanks. Drain attached fuel lines.
1.    Place trailer on stands so the wheels are supported off the ground. Remember to raise the bow higher than the stern to promote draining of moisture.
2.    Remove trailer wheels to clean and repack the wheel bearings.