How to Winterize a Boat – 10 Steps

 Canadians own over 4.3 million boats. That means every year, millions of people need to understand how to winterize a boat to ensure it runs smoothly come spring.

As an Alberta energy company, we help educate our customers throughout the year on a range of topics. Now that winter is upon us, we’d like to introduce you to 10 steps of winterizing a boat. You’ll be glad you did when your family is ready to return to the water.

Winter boats parking - average boats on trailers in snow.

1. Change the Engine Oil

You don't want old oil sitting in your engine for several months. Acids present in oil may corrode engine parts while the boat is in storage, so it's best to put in a fresh and clean supply before leaving it. Warm up the engine and flush out as much oil as possible before replacing it.

2. Remove the Water from Your Engine

Avoid getting water in your engine. When water freezes, it expands and can destroy engine components. Winterizing a boat means you'll need to eliminate water from the engine, regardless of the type of engine you have. You should follow your engine owner's manual when taking this step, since every model is a bit different.

3. Add Fuel Stabilizer

Draining the fuel from an engine won't be enough to keep the engine from eroding during the winter. There's always some fuel in the tank, even after it's technically empty. Instead, fill the tank with fresh fuel and add fuel stabilizer to it. The stabilizer will help prevent the fuel from deteriorating, which can ultimately cause damage.

4. Fog Your Engine

Fogging your engine is an important part of winterizing your boat. All you need to do is spray a protective coating of oil over the internal engine parts. This will shield them from moisture so you can avoid any corrosion on the parts.

5. Replace Your Gear Oil

Your engine is not the only portion of your boat that needs an oil change when you winterize it. You also need to replace the gear oil. Simply drain the old oil out of the compartment and replace it with a fresh supply. This is another important step in winterizing your boat, since the new gear oil will help protect your transmission from moisture and corrosion.

6. Lubricate Your Grease Fittings

Rust and corrosion are a huge threat to many parts of your boat, especially its grease fittings. If you use a high-quality brand of marine lubricant to coat them, that should protect them over the winter months. If you can't find your boat's grease fittings, refer to your owner's manual.

7. Clean the Boat Thoroughly

Now that you've handled the engine and its components, the next phase of how to winterize a boat involves the aesthetics. You need to clean your boat before you leave it for the winter. Any dirt or stains will only get worse if they're left for several months. Clean everything from the seats, to the flooring, to the trim.

8. Don't Leave Anything Behind

Remove anything of value from the boat before you store it. The obvious concerns are theft and the effects the cold weather can have on those items.

9. Remove Barnacles and Wax the Boat

The hull of the boat has been sitting in water for months. It’s not uncommon for the hull to have barnacles or other marine life attached to it. Take the time to power wash it so that these creatures and anything else undesirable is removed. When you’re done, put a coat of wax on the boat to provide a solid layer of protection.

10. Cover and Store the Boat Strategically

Winterizing your boat is not complete until the final step, which is covering and storing it somewhere. Get a boat cover that’s rugged and durable so it can withstand the weather. Make sure to store your boat somewhere that’s protected from any exposure to precipitation or moisture. Whether you’re on the water or in your home, we’re here to help. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you with your energy needs, feel free to contact us online or call 1-866-374-6299.