Winterize Dewinterize

Winterize/Dewinterize Your Boat
Boat winterizing is never fun. It usually means that summer is on its way out of town and taking your fun on the water with it. The only thing that would be worse would be getting to next spring and finding out that your boat winterization efforts weren’t properly executed and your fun on the water will continue its hiatus until your boat is fixed.

But, don’t worry! Boat winterizing isn’t difficult if you approach it with a plan. Really, there are two options when it comes time to winterize your boat:

1. Pack up the kids and the dog, sell the house and start heading down the lakes to the Caribbean or

2. Call Williams Yacht Group in Afton, Oklahoma and have us take care of all the worries!

While option number one probably seems more romantic, the second is far more realistic…so let’s focus on that one. What follows are some helpful hints to help keep your boat safe through the cold weather.


Boat Winterizing Step One:
One last trip

Before anything else, you need to take your boat out for (at least) one more trip. This time, though, instead of gawking at the beauty of Grand Lake, gawk at your boat. Make notes about the things you want to repair, replace or modify – the outdated electronics, the stinky holding tank, the dirty carpets, the sticky winch and all those things that have caused you to say, “I ought to take care of that someday.” Once the list is complete, convert it into a schedule of projects to do this fall, this winter and next spring. See, you don’t have to completely give up boating for the winter!

Remove as much gear from the boat as possible. Take home the pots, pans, dishes and cups and run them through the dishwasher. Empty the icebox and take the food home or donate it to for the local food pantry. Wash the linens and blankets. Air out the cushions and pillows. Pull out your fire extinguishers so they can be inspected over the winter.
Boat Winterizing Step Three: Cleaning
With all that gear out of the cabin, give her a good scrubbing from front to back. Wipe out the lockers and drawers. Rub down the wood with lemon oil. Clean all those hairs out from behind the head. Scrub the carpets and send the curtains to the cleaners. Get down in the bilge and retrieve all those things you’ve dropped in there over the years. If you clean your bilge, do not pump any bilge water overboard if it has an oily sheen!
Air it Out:
Once the boat is cleaned, remember to leave the interior doors and lockers open so air can circulate. You might want to put out some moisture and odor absorbers just before you close up the boat.
Boat Winterizing Step Five: On Deck
Pull out your anchor and rinse the mud off the chain and rode. Lay your lines out and wash them with warm soapy water. Make sure they are dry before you stow them for the winter. If your canvas needs repair, now is the time have that completed.
Engine System:
Winterizing your engine and systems comes next. Start by topping off your tanks (not more than 7/8 full to allow for expansion in the spring) and stabilizing your fuel. Change your engine oil and replace all the filters. Check the coolant in closed cooling systems for the proper degree of protection. Check the hoses, belts and clamps. Make sure all your thru-hulls open and close, and then leave them open. Clean your strainers.
Boat Winterizing Step Seven: Head to the…well…Head
Flush your head with plenty of fresh water and pump out your holding tank. Run non-toxic antifreeze through the intake lines (don’t just dump it down the bowl), the y-valve, macerator and discharge hose.

Boat Winterizing Step Eight: Water Tanks
Completely drain your fresh water tanks and water heater (turn it off first). You can add non-toxic antifreeze directly to your water tank and pump it directly through your hot and cold plumbing (don’t forget about the shower on the transom). But to save time and antifreeze, consider installing a siphon hose fitting just before your water pump and a water heater bypass loop.
Boat Winterizing Step Nine: Anti-Freeze
Don’t forget to run non-toxic anti-freeze through ice makers, air conditioning pumps, sump pumps, fish wells and bilge pumps.
If you do dry Storage then After Hauling:
Once your boat has been hauled, you’ll want to fog the cylinders on gasoline engines and flush the engine’s raw water cooling system with non-toxic antifreeze (if you don’t have a closed cooling system, you may need to drain the engine block first). Open all thru-hulls, check your shaft, strut, cutlass bearing, props, intake screens and anodes. Check the hull for blisters. Change the gear lube in lower units. Clean and disconnect the batteries. Some boat owners remove the batteries so they can charge them at home over the winter. Others make sure the batteries are fully charged before haul-out and leave then in the boat. Wash the deck and hull. Cover the exhaust and any holes to keep animals from getting in your boat.

Our Helpful tips are just a starter to give you an idea; we always recommend consulting a professional (Williams Yacht Group) for expert service.