Checklist for Winterizing Your Boat

winterize your houseboat

As the leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, and that means it’s time to take care of your boat for the winter. Whether you have a house boat or a sail boat, you’ll want to consider this checklist if you plan on having a fun spring on the water.

Winterizing your boat is essential for preventing any damage that might occur from the freezing temperatures. Winterizing essentially means to drain the water from your boat and put in enough of the right antifreeze to protect it against the cold.

The water left in your boat from your last lake trip will expand when it freezes, and the pressure can cause damage to the structure of your boat, the engine block, the hoses, or even the refrigeration system. So, take action to prevent this avoidable damage before winter is in full swing.

  1. Find cover. The best place for your boat to be during the winter is out of the water and on dry ground, preferably under a shelter. If that isn’t possible, the best thing for you to do is to make sure it is well-covered with a tarp to protect against the weather.
  2. Change the oil and check the engine. Run the engine while it is warm and change the oil, checking for leaks afterwards. It might be wise to change the transmission fluid while you’re at it. Check other fluid levels in the steering and lift pumps. Flush the engine with antifreeze, letting it circulate completely through.
  3. Inspect the stern drive. Remove any organisms, such as barnacles, that decided to take residence on your boat. Clean it with soap and water and grease all the fittings.
  4. Change the fuel filters. You might also want to fill your fuel tank to leave less room for condensation to build up. If you don’t want to risk the fuel spoiling over the winter, you can add a fuel stabilizer in its stead.
  5. Drain the fresh water system. Completely drain the fresh water tank and hot water heater to prevent the damage caused by water expansion as it freezes. Pump antifreeze into the water system and water heater.

For more tips on winterizing your boat, check out this article from Houseboat Magazine.




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