Winterize your boat in Florida? YES!
In Florida, unlike our neighbors to the north, we enjoy year-round boating. For those of us in Northwest Florida, yes it is in the central time zone, we need to winterize our boats. Making the necessary preparations for your boat is one of the best things you can do to protect your investment. In addition to that, make sure she is turn-key ready for another season!
To truly winterize your boat you need to do more than add some fuel stabilizer, drain the engine and add antifreeze. This is a process that should encompass everything from bow to transom.
Rule #1: Get a good cover, and make sure it protects as much of the boat as possible. Preferably to the waterline. Be sure it is securely tied down and tight.
Because boats and engines differ, start by checking your owners manual. Always defer to your owners manual especially if your vessel and engine(s) are still under warranty.
Start by checking the hull for stress cracks, gelcoat blisters, etc… They can indicate structural damage. Not addressing these signs could lead to big issues down the road. Be sure to get off any barnacles or other tag-a-longs. Pressure washing the hull is also a good idea to remove lingering sea funk.
As all Floridians know, our air is humid! Humidity can bring a lot of mold to our boat interior if we do not take precautions. Use vinyl cleaners and protectants to preserve your interior. Be sure to create some air flow inside the cover. Mildew sprays are good, but be careful where you spray them to not damage threads. Dehumidifiers are awesome to keep your boat from growing a science experiment and frying your electronics.
If your boat has a removable head, clean it well before before it is stored. This is common sense, clean the boat before putting her up on the shelf for a couple months. Built-in units, including sinks and showers, should be drained and pumped with antifreeze.
The cold weather’s biggest danger to your engine is freezing, corrosion and fuel degradation. Check the engine for damaged or loose wires, connections and clamps. Check the belts and hoses. Replace those that show cracks or damage. Run the engine getting it up to temperature. Change the oil and filter.
Flush the engine with fresh water. Be sure to store it in a vertical position to ensure all water drains. No ice allowed!
Gasoline breaks down in storage. Be sure to add fuel stabilizer to the tank and idle for 10+ minutes to make sure it gets distributed throughout the system.
Let’s move to the back of the boat. Remove the prop and check it along with the hub and splines. Be sure the change your water pump impeller before storing the boat for the winter. It’s cheap insurance.
Drain the gear case lube and look for a milky color, which would indicate water in the oil. Make sure you also look for metal flakes and chips.
As with any list like this, there are ALWAYS more things you can do to preserve your boat. A boat is a big investment. Preserve and insure it, so it is ready when you want to use it or sell it. The last thing you want is to have trouble when you are out on the water.
Sunrise Marine has been in business for over 15 years, with it’s owners having more than 70 years combined experience in the boating industry. Sunrise Marine has 2 locations, just west of Destin, FL and just east of Mobile, AL in Daphne. Sunrise proudly sells Chaparral, Robalo, Cape Horn, Carolina Skiff, Bennington, World Cat, Glacier Bay, Livingston, Carolina Cat, and Yamaha Outboards. Sunrise Marine offers a full boat service and boat parts department. Sunrise Marine offers new, used, and brokered boats, and will consider all trades whether they are boats, cars, RV’s PWC’s, tools, or motorcycles. Give us a call or better yet stop by and meet the team. Our owner is here almost every day.