There is a good chance you’ll require a boat winterization checklist if you reside in an area with four distinct seasons. After all, you want your vessel to stay in tip-top condition for the upcoming sailing season, right?
I know the value of winterizing my cabin cruiser boat, having seen others suffer the consequences of not taking the proper precautions. Moisture can gather in a boat cabin through the cold period, giving rise to a damp, mildew shock when the temps warm up again in the springtime.
You protect a boat’s machinery from freezing during winterization procedures. You can protect things like batteries, motors, bottom units, and sterndrives from wear and tear caused by lying idle during the winter. Securing the cabin in wintertime just requires a weekend’s worth of work.
Just like the rest of the cabin, if you don’t grasp a system or procedure, you should seek the advice of a professional. Here’s how to winterize our precious boats…
Pull My Cabin Cruiser From the Water or Not For Winter?
Decide whether or not you’ll store your boat for the winter in or out of the water. Trailer boaters have a simple choice to make when it comes to purchasing a boat. The choice of hauling out or staying at the dock may be challenging for individuals with larger boats, depending on where you live.
Depending on the type and size of your boat, as well as the boatyard you choose, each strategy has its own set of charges.
To keep a boat out of harm’s way, there are several challenges.
Prevent ice from building up around the vessel and safeguard it from corrosion, plus keep a source of heat in the vessel, freshwater systems, as well as storage tanks winterized.
Prepare My Cabin Cruiser Engine For the Cold Season
We’ll start with preparing your boat’s engine for the winter since it’s most likely the most crucial part of your vessel. Due to the type of motor you utilize (inboard, outboard, Genset, or diesel), this procedure will seem slightly different in practice. The fundamentals, on the other hand, are the same. You need to do this:
- Make sure your gas tanks are full before adding a stabilizer. Filling up your gas tanks can help reduce the risk of humidity collecting within the tank or even eroding its metal, as was said before.
- You can preserve your engine’s metal parts by using a stabilizer to maintain the gasoline in the proper condition of suspension.
- Ensure you change the oil and filter regularly. If your boat is going to be in storage for a few months, this is a good idea because moisture and acids in the crankcase can seriously damage the engine.
- Remove and replace the fuel filter. Check your gasoline filter for leaks before the winter sets in to avoid moisture intrusion inside your vehicle.
- Remove the engine from the vehicle and dry it completely. A lot of boaters are baffled by this method, which varies from engine to engine yet can fracture your engine block if done wrong (which is often the case). Alternatively, if you have enough antifreeze, you can accomplish your goal.
- Take a look at the level of coolant in the radiator. The inboard engine’s cooling system consists of two parts: a freshwater reservoir and a seawater inlet. Make sure your boat’s permanent freshwater cooling system is in good operating order before putting it away for the winter.
Close the intake seacock for the cooling system’s seawater input if you’re keeping your yacht at sea. Antifreeze can be added to the seawater cooling system to keep things running smoothly throughout the winter.
- Fog cylinders are commonly used in gasoline engines. Moisture is kept out of the engine cylinders by doing this method.
- Charge your battery with a marine charger. Preventing a dead boat battery is the last thing you want to deal with as the boating season draws to a close.
Winterizing My Boat
Now that you’ve finished winterizing your engine, it’s time to turn your attention to the little things on the inside. As a result, you should take extra care with your cabin’s plumbing during the winterization process. You need to do this:
- Drain all of the water from the tanks that are being held in. Because of the expansion of the water when it freezes, your pipes will break. Antifreeze in the brain is also a good idea.
- Drain the tank of your water. Empty your water heater first, because water expands when it freezes.
- We have to use pumps and pipework to circulate antifreeze. Consult your boat’s owner’s manual for more information on what to do.
- Drain any water that is still in the area. Make sure to drain any water that accumulates around your cabin’s shower sump, which is particularly vulnerable in this situation.
- Remove all food from the area. You don’t want to start the boating season by finding a five-month-old slice of pizza in the refrigerator. Before you put your boat away for the winter, get rid of any food that may attract pests.
- Empty your drawers and cabinets. When you’re winterizing your yacht, open the lockers to allow the air to circulate. In the long run, this can help prevent the growth of mildew and mold.
Before shutting down the shop for the winter, if there is a lot of moist equipment in the lockers.
- We should store cushions in an organized manner. We should either keep them in our boat’s cabin or bring your fabrics and textiles home for the winter to protect them from the harsh weather.
- All electrical equipment should be removed from the room. During the winter months, remove any electrical equipment from your cottage that may be stored elsewhere. This reduces the chance of theft or injury.
- Shut off the gas valve. Propane tanks should be properly shut off before the cold weather sets in. Before you open the galley control, make sure all above-deck tank controls are off.
- Turn on the stove to extinguish any lingering gas in the pipes and prevent a gas leak. Try to take propane tanks with you when possible.
- Drain the water from the bilge. Make sure your bilges are fully dry before you begin cleaning them.
- Close the hatches. In the spring, you don’t want to find that you accidentally left a hatch open on your yacht. Check to determine if you’ve properly stowed away your winter supplies.
- Switch the circuit breakers off. Make sure everything is off, save for the bilge pump and any carbon monoxide or smoke detectors that may be present.
- Don’t forget to cover the vessel. Without the proper boat cover or hiring a shrink wrapper to shrink wrap your boat for storage, you run the danger of damaging the gel coat and fiberglass.
Cost to Winterize Our Boats
You’re correct if you think that preparing for winter is a lot of work. The process of winterizing a boat might take a long time. However, with practice and familiarity with the techniques and requirements of your specific boat, it can become much simpler.
A cabin cruiser’s winterization costs are quite low, especially when compared to the potential repair costs that could arise if it is not properly winterized.
Do-it-yourself Winterization Is The Best Option
Many boaters choose to winterize their boats themselves, even though several tasks must be completed.
In truth, winterizing your boat will just take you an hour or two, and your only substantial expense will be the tools you need to do so. To get started, you’ll need the following materials:
- Fuel treatment
- Engine Fogging Solution
Prices vary for fuel treatment and antifreeze, and so do oil change and engine fogging solution prices.
Using an Expert for Winterization
Hire a professional if you don’t have time or don’t want to cope with winterizing your boat yourself. For a small boat, you should expect to pay up to $500 or more for this service; for a larger boat, you can expect to pay between up to $500 or more.
Even if you don’t put your boat away for the winter, you never know if you’ll find it in perfect working order when you return in the spring. Instead of saving money by not winterizing your boat, you may end up with a huge repair project and an expensive bill. Repairs may include:
- Repairing carburetors and gasoline injectors that have become clogged
- Engine cylinders, pistons, and rings that have been corroded
- Repairing engine blocks that have been damaged
- Failure to do an oil change could result in a breakdown.
- Repairing a seal in a gearbox
As a result, winterizing your boat is one of the most important jobs you can conduct on it each year.
Despite the hassle, preparing our boats for winter can save us thousands of dollars in expensive repairs. It might also keep our yacht in good working order for years to come.
For one thing, it’s affordable and easy to have a professional do it for us, so there’s no excuse not to winterize your cruiser this winter.