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Winterizing your Vessel: A Guide


As the boating season winds down, it is time to think about winterizing your vessel. Winterizing a vessel consists of preparing your boat for long-term storage. Cutting corners while getting ready to put your boat away will likely create problems for you in the spring. What was once a minor issue will multiply into a much more significant burden if left to fester all winter. Taking these steps when you put your vessel away decreases the risk of damage to your boat and ensures you start the season as safe and prepared as possible in the spring.


1. Engine oil filter

Leaving oil in the vessel for months while stored could significantly damage your engine. Engine oil contains acid that will deteriorate engine parts if old oil is left in. Flushing out oil thoroughly and refilling your engine with a fresh supply before the vessel is stored away is essential.


2.  Fogging your engine

A small but mighty step, spraying a coat of fogging oil over the engine's internal parts, protects it from condensation that could lead to deterioration.


3.  Drain water systems

Prep your boat by making sure all water is flushed out and drained. Water, ironically, poses the most significant risk to your vessel during storage. This includes but is not limited to tanks, heads, pumps, sinks, etc. When water freezes, it expands by 9-10 percent by volume; if your water cooling system holds 10 quarts of water and it freezes, that adds a quart more than your pipes, hoses, etc. can hold.


4. Treat the fuel with a stabilizer 

Gas with ethanol gathers water over time. A fuel stabilizer will help get rid of water in the fuel. Let the engine run to ensure the fuel stabilizer gets everywhere in the system. 


5.  Wash and clean your vessel

Dirt and stains on your vessel's exterior and interior will only worsen as time continues. Clean the seats, trim, and flooring to avoid worsening stains and damage and ensure a fresh start this spring.



The consequences of leaving your vessel neglected in storage go beyond boat damages and thousands of dollars in repair costs. The safety hazard it poses to you, your family, and your friends costs far more. 


These steps allow for an easy, inexpensive, and lower-risk beginning to the season. To learn more about marine safety and see upcoming classes to start the season as ready as possible, visit here.


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