This blog was originally published on October 25, 2017. It was updated and re-published on October 25, 2018.
Any boat connoisseur is going to implore you that fall is one of the best times to be on the water. Harboring fewer distractions and far less crowding, cruising during this time is a breath of fresh air. Sure, it’s still a little warm out in many parts of the United States right now. But winter is fast approaching and it’s time to prepare for it before it hits you.
In this post, we’re going to explore the winterization of your boat and how to keep it in stellar condition, even when it’s not running. This way, your Boat Insurance policy is just a safety net in case something does happen. One in ten U.S. households owns a boat, according to statistics from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), and each boater should know how to handle a little chill. Here’s how to prepare your boat for colder weather.
Protect the hull
Look out for ice: it can build up in window tracks and hatches, which can end up being a hassle later. When dealing with outside boat storage, it’s a given that there needs to be a high-quality cover in the mix. Take a peek at your hull every now and then to look for stress cracks (can be seen around the bow eye) and gelcoat blisters. A stress crack can mean that there’s an underlying problem with your boat, such as structural damage. If it’s serious, it’s going to have to be taken care of by a professional. For blister issues, it’s good to puncture, dry, drain and patch with an epoxy-based filler. But what if the hull is aluminum? In that case, the dents can actually be banged out through the drum with a rubber mallet, according to a 2017 Popular Mechanics article. A pressure wash will get rid of barnacles before storage and a protective coat will keep out unwanted critters.
Secure the interior
To prevent cracking during dry season, spray vinyl with a protective coating layer. Next, allow ventilation from the boat’s cover in order to get rid of moisture. There’s also mildew prevention sprays and chemical dehumidifiers available that will help prevent mildew and mold.
Pay attention to the motor
The biggest thing to worry about is the fuel degradation, corrosion and freezing that comes with winter months. It’s imperative to consistently check the engine for loose wires, connections and clamps. Check all hoses and replace the mushy ones or the ones with cracks. Look at the belts too and adjust tension where needed. Is there a paint nick? Touch it up and avoid corrosion. Flush your engine with fresh water before it’s stored. Change the oil and filter as well. This way, your boat will be ready when spring season comes along. Finally, add fuel stabilizer to your gas tank. Let the engine heat up and run for a good 20 minutes before storing it. This is how the stabilizer gets distributed, preventing corrosion. It’s the best way to properly prepare your boat for winter.
About Mariners Insurance
Mariners General Insurance Group was founded in 1959 to protect boat owners and marine business clients. We are marine insurance experts, and insure boats worldwide – in every ocean on the planet. Marine insurance is critical if you own a boat or nautical business. Trust the professionals with all of your Boat Insurance needs – trust Mariners Insurance. Call us at (800) 992-4443 any time you have questions or concerns about insurance for your vessel or marine business.