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boat winterization

Compete boat winterizing guide by BoatUS helps boaters properly protect boats during the winter freeze (PDF download)

If you boat in a area that goes below the freezing point during the winter (which includes most boating locations outside of Florida) then you need to take winterizing seriously. As fall gets underway, better get out the pink… it’s time to winterize!

boat-shrink-wrapWhile water may be your life in the summer, water is your enemy to boat engines in the wintertime. Basically anywhere there may be water in your boat – your engines, your head, your galley – could be destroyed if not properly drained out. The effects of water freezing in a boat can be devastating (or at least VERY costly). According to BoatUS, Water expands in volume by about nine percent when it freezes, creating a staggering force that can crack a boat engine block, damage fiberglass, split hoses, or destroy a boat’s refrigeration system overnight.

As the largest insurer of boats with BoatUS Insurance Program, they have noted that more than three-quarters of boat insurance claims involved cracks in the engine block or the exhaust manifolds.

Protecting your boat for the winter involves several things to consider:

  • Storage – special considerations for in-water storage of boats vs. dry storage
  • Batteries – caring for your boat’s expensive batteries over the winter (and making sure they charge in the spring)
  • Covers – shrink-wrapping your boat vs. using custom boat covers
  • Engines and drives – changing the oil and using fuel stabilizers
  • Antifreeze – how to choose the right type of antifreeze and where/how to use it

guide winterizing boatTo help boaters properly protect their boats in all these areas during the winter months, BoatUS put together a free comprehensive guide called “The Boater’s Guide to Winterizing“.

In addition to helpful tips on storage, batteries, covers, engine care and antifreeze use, the guide includes a very thorough checklist for your boat, including:

  • Engine Room – covering engine care, generators and other systems
  • Outboards
  • Outdrives
  • In-Water Preparation
  • Storage

Download the full winter care guide by Boat US,
The Boater’s Guide to Winterizing (PDF opens in new browser)


More Boat Winterizing Help

West Marine produced a great video series that walks you through a 5 step process to winterizing. The first video is a simple introduction and then each step of the process is covered in more detail.

Watch the winterizing video series here:

Winterizing Products

If you are ready to shop boat winterizing products, check out West Marine’s Winterizing products.

Disclosure Policy: This site may contain links that are afilliated with companies where we receive compensation. Full disclosure policy.



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Diane Seltzer

Founder & Editor at My Boat Life
Diane is the founder of MyBoatLife.com as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids BoaterKids.com. She is also active in the boating industry, serving as the marketing director for a marine sunshade product, SureShade, and founder of Marine Marketing Tools, a collaborative site for sharing marine marketing best practices. Diane is also the author of the children's book The Amazing Adventures of Boat Girl.

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