Winter will be here before you know it! While you’re getting ready for the holidays, don’t forget to take care of your boat. We’ve put together some tips to help you get your boat ready for the cold weather. Taking preventative measures now will make next year’s boating season just that much better! Here are a few suggestions:
1. Before you get started, take your boat out for one more trip! Check around to see if there are any repairs that need to be made, items that need to be replaced, and clean up anything smelly or dirty.
2. Don’t forget to unpack – remove as much gear as possible. Take out any dishes, empty the freezer, take out any sunscreen, wash your sheets and blankets, air out cushions and pillows and remove fire extinguishers to inspect.
3. With your boat empty, give your boat a thorough cleaning from bow to stern.
4. Once the boat is squeaky clean, open the doors and allow fresh air to circulate. Adding a few moisture absorbers prior to closing up the boat is a good idea too.
5. Don’t forget the deck! Make sure that you pull out your anchor to rinse off any mud on the chain and rode. For you sailors, clean your scuppers and lay out and wash your sails and lines with warm soapy water, making sure that they are dry prior to stowing them.
6. Top off your tank (not more than 7/8 full to allow for expansion in spring) and stabilize your fuel. Change your oil and replace all the filters. Check your coolant, hoses, belts and clamps. Remember, do not throw your used oil, filters, coolant or absorbent pads in the dumpsters. Check with your local authorities about how to properly recycle them.
7. Flush the head with plenty of fresh water and be sure to pump out the holding tank. Run non-toxic antifreeze through the intake lines, the y-valve, macerator and discharge hose.
8. After you turn off your hot water heater, drain your fresh tanks and water heater.
9. Make sure that you run non-toxic antifreeze through the ice makers, air conditioning pumps, sump pumps, fish wells and bilge pumps.
10. After your boat has been hauled, you will want to fog the cylinders on gasoline engines and flush the engine’s cooling system with non-toxic antifreeze. 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, and clean and disconnect the batteries. Make sure the batteries are fully charged prior to haul-out and leave them in the boat.
11. Finally, cover the exhaust and any holes to keep animals from getting in the boat.
For a handy checklist, please visit: http://powerboat.about.com/od/maintenanceandrepair/tp/WinterizeChecklist.htm