The Brief Guide That Makes Winterizing a Boat Super Simple


Recently, you took the plunge and joined the millions of registered boat owners in America. You had a blast taking it out to the water all summer long. But now, winter is on the horizon, and you’re panicking about what to do with the boat.

Fret not, because winterizing a boat is a straightforward process. Most people prepare and store their boats over winter as waters freeze over and boating season hits a lull.

There are just a few steps to the process. Here’s your guide.

The Engine

The main priority is the engine. Oil, fuel, and water can interact with the cold in different ways, none of which are healthy for a hibernating boat.

Change the Oil

The first thing you need to do is drain the engine oil. Run the engine for a little while with the boat in the water. This will flush out any impurities and drain the oil in the engine.

Then, take some fresh oil (you’ll need different oil for different types of boats), and fill it back up.

Drain the Water

The next thing you want to do is drain any water from the cooling system. If you leave this water in there, there’s a good chance it’ll freeze over winter. This ice will expand and cause nasty damage to your engine.

Different types of boat engines require a different process here. For inboard engines, flush the water out using water muffs and flush until the engine reaches its normal temperature.

If you have an outboard engine, make sure to open all the drain holes and follow a similar process of using water muffs and hoses to flush the engine.

Fuel Stabilization

The last thing to do with your engine is to stabilize the fuel. Unstable fuel left over the winter can turn into a gummy-type liquid that will clog your engine.

Fill your tank up about 90% of the way with new fuel, and then add a fuel stabilizer to the tank. Run your engine for 20-30 minutes to distribute the stabilizer evenly around the tank.

If you do not wish to do this, you can simply drain the engine of all its fuel and refill it when you take it out of storage.

The Interior

Marinas and shipyards see very little traffic during the winter. When the marina is less busy, you’re more likely to experience a break-in. If you’re storing your boat on the water, make sure to remove all items of value from the boat for their safekeeping.

Also, be sure to throw out any food that you have in the boat that won’t last through the time your boat is in storage.


The last thing you need to do is find your ideal boat storage. If you’ve got a smaller boat with a trailer, then this is an easy question, and you can simply move the boat into your trailer for winter.

If you have a larger boat with no trailer, you can still store your boat out of the water with no problem. Companies can come and take your boat away for you for the winter and cover all your storage needs.

In any case, be sure to put a cover over your boat to protect the exterior from snow, ice, and cold conditions.

Winterizing a Boat Is Easy

That’s your guide for winterizing a boat. Knowing how to winterize a boat will save you plenty of time and energy every year. You’ll thank yourself for preparing the boat when you take it out for the first run in summer.

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