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  • #2

    Winterizing Your Boat
    Winterizing your boat, it's a chore but one that can save you so much trouble next spring when you want ole Bessie to work properly. Here are a few guidelines that I follow when doing this task after my last trip of the year and while packing her away in the garage for the winter.

    1. Clean out boat thoroughly, I usually wash it and steam clean the carpets, I empty out all compartments and leave the hatch doors slightly ajar to allow for drying and ventilation.
    3. EDIT: I have deleted suggestions 2 and 3 because they contradict the above advice from manufacturers. JB
    4. Drain the lower unit and look for any water problems signaling a bad gasket, using a pump kit I will refill my lower unit from the bottom hole in order to push out any other contaminants. Once full replace both plugs and clean off lower unit. If needed, now would be a great time to also check and replace the impeller, this often overlooked item can become easily damaged... even in normal use! I replace it every 100 hours or two seasons, whichever comes first.
    5. Jack up the trailer to prevent tire flat spotting during the lay up season from the boat weight.
    6. Remove all batteries and properly check the charge on each one. Store them in your basement on a wooden shelf, a cement floor can harm your battery. Don't forget to check the charge on those batteries at least twice during the winter as well.
    7. Remove all electronics from the boat and store them as well in your basement or house.
    8. Take off the prop and make any repairs if needed, lube up the shaft, look for line or other items around the seals and put it back on. I will also lube up the motor joints and steering cables. Lubing now ensures good grease but also pushes out any moisture.
    9. Blow out the water hoses. From the console end I will take off the speedo and water pressure hoses, then I will blow them out with air to remove any water in those lines. Do not forget to mark them if they are the same color, size or in the same general area, could save on confusion next season.
    10. Undo the winch strap from the bow, it can only help to have all that pressure relieved from the bow hook and the strap itself.
    11. Open all valves and remote drains to drain out the water but should some remained trapped, open valves do allow for expansion of ice. You can use compressed air to blow out these drain lines or even pour some 'non-toxic' antifreeze in there.
    12. Store the motor straight up, this will allow any moisture to drain off completely. I will also raise the trim up and down two or three times, this action will let any water trapped in the pockets of the system to be moved around, this then allows it a better chance of coming down the drain when the motor is left in the straight up position.
    13. Completely disinfect the livewell and make sure that it has been properly rinsed and toweled dry. Also do the bilge in the same manner.
    14. Put some dielectric compound on the trailer electrical and light connectors. I also take an old mated end as well and plug it on the trailer connector to prevent exposure, I will do this as well to my truck if needed.
    15. I take the extra time now to look for last minute fiberglass damage or leaking rivets.

    Just a few other quick tips and things that you may or may not want to do.
    - I will always put everything from my boat in one area of the basement or garage so that I am not looking everywhere in the spring for a few important items.
    - I take off my trailer tires altogether.
    - In the spring I wax my boat to help protect it.
    - I check my boat regularly in the winter to make sure it has not become a home for mice or similar.

    As mentioned above, some water systems may require some plumbing antifreeze to prevent damage in them so you may need to perform that task as well.

    In the spring, after you do the initial running and plug change, it may also be a good idea to get your boat tuned up just to make sure that it is at it's performance optimum for the upcoming season. Also, now is a great time to decarbonize your motor, this will make sure that it is starting the year out on the right foot.

    If you do not have a garage then make sure that your boat cover is on tightly but also allows vital air flow through the boat, consider a good boat wrap with installed vents. If your boat is smaller and stored outside then flip it over, store it on 6 x 6 blocks, do not let the snow and ice build up too heavily.

    Lastly, if you cannot or do not feel comfortable doing any of this then make sure you get your rig to a qualified dealer in your area and have them winterize your rig for you. You will be glad that you done so in the spring when your boat is purring along and your neighbor is cursing theirs for not running properly after not packing it away improperly last fall.
    I hope this helps yah out.
    Last edited by JB; October 3rd, 2007, 05:59 AM. Reason: reformatted by JustMrWill. Thanks


    • #3
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      Storing / winterizing an outboard

      I would just like to add my two cents worth on the subject of storing an outboard. When I went to put away my little Nissan 2-stroke 2.5 HP, I had read that one should run it until the gas is all used up from the carb. and fuel line - run it out of gas...to prevent the gas from gumming up the carb. Don't do it, my Nissan was locked up, went to use it one month after I did this - had to put a breaker bar and socket (after lubing the piston/cylinder) on the flywheel nut to free it. Use Seafoam in your gas and just leave it! When the gas stops flowing so does the oil.....:'(