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Boats in winter

How to Care for Your Boat in Winter

on February 03, 2022

How to Care for Your Boat in Winter

Owning a boat is a fantastic privilege! However, it can sometimes be hard to keep your vessel safe from the weather and other outside influences. This is particularly the case during winter when one bad freeze can make your boat near worthless. Because of this, it is crucial to know how to care for your boat in winter.

Empty out your boat

The first step you should take to care for your boat in winter is getting everything that is not part of the boat out. Including even all the must-have tools for boat owners that you have aboard! This will make it much easier to properly store your boat and clean it. Not to mention that you would be removing the chances of leaving behind something that could mold, form condensation, or cause a myriad of other minor issues that can end up developing into something that seriously threatens the health of your boat.

Keep the batteries at hand

It is simple logic that you want to remove your boat batteries. If water, moisture, or anything similar gets into them, they would be instantly ruined. They would even put the integrity of the boat’s systems at risk. The batteries have their own lifespan, and if they are not stored properly, they can decay more quickly. And good batteries can be rather expensive! It is recommended to charge them once a month or so to keep up their health.

Make sure your boat is clean

It is ridiculous how easy it is for a boat to get damaged by dirt or moisture left behind. In fact, it is not uncommon for the moving experts associated with to run across such situations when helping move boats back to their docks once winter has passed. You do not want to be among those who end up paying for costly repairs due to negligence. Thoroughly wash every surface, and once you are done, make sure absolutely everything is dry before even thinking about putting your boat away. If any water is left behind in cracks or in vital areas, and it expands due to the cold, it can cause warping, cracking, and rusting.

Do a thorough inspection

You want to be very, very thorough in your full-boat checkup. This would typically come after cleaning, as it can help spot any leftover dirt or water. If you notice your oil looking milky while changing it, know that it is a sign of water leaking into the system. Here is a list of everything you need to pay particular attention to properly care for your boat in winter:

  • Fuel and oil filters

  • Water separator

  • Cooling systems

  • Plugs

  • Sacrificial anodes

  • Hose clamps

It is only once you’ve gone over every last one of these, and the rest of your boat, of course, that you can declare this part of the process over.

Triple check your engine

The engine is probably the most important part of your boat. This is why it deserves special attention all on its own. This process is also known as ‘winterizing’ your engine. 

You need to get quality winterizing products. You would start by flushing the engine and coolant systems with simple freshwater. This would clean them out and ensure no buildup of impurities in the system. After that, replace all the filters if you had found any issues with them in the last checkup. And then replace the oil. Then, put antifreeze into your coolant system to ensure it is protected. Instead of leaving your gas tank empty, it’s better to top it off with fuel mixed with a stabilizer.

A boat motor

Caption: The engine is both the most expensive part of the boat and the trickiest part you need to tackle to care for your boat in winter.

Cover your boat carefully

Now, we come to the step of actually securing your boat from the elements. It is typically recommended to find a place to store, whether in your own garage or a storage facility. Storing a boat long-term is so much easier that way, and it is possible to store it with ease with the help of movers. However, your boat can survive outside, too, if it is adequately secured. Of course, you should use a water-resistant covering to ensure no moisture makes it inside. You should still try to have some protection over it. Perhaps a veranda, some kind of roof, or even tree branches. After all, the covering is water-resistant, not water immune. In particularly harsh climates, people even resort to shrink wrapping to ensure water is kept away from their vessels.

 A small boat out of the water

Caption: Be especially careful with your boat’s transfer, particularly after it has been covered.


To use or not to use

Of course, the temptation to continue using your boat throughout winter always exists. And if you live somewhere with a mild climate where it never snows or freezes, this is a viable option. However, if you live in a cold region, this would be a massive risk. If you do not need to, be it due to work or some other reason, it is not recommended to risk something as expensive as a quality boat in winter. If you decide you want to go through with it anyway, make sure you have all the supplies you need to keep it going safely.

 A boat in winter

Caption: Winter is dangerous, even for simple, traditional boats.

Final advice on how to care for your boat in winter

Now that you know how to care for your boat in winter, you should be able to get through it safely! Remember that it is still wise to check on your boat every once in a while. This way, you can make sure everything is still okay, and you will do fine!

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