Boats give millions of Americans a wonderful recreational opportunity. Offering a great way to enjoy fun all summer long, from fishing to relaxing in the sunshine, a boat means a special time of enjoyment with friends and family.
As with most summer activities, boating means that the end of the season requires more than simply saying "goodbye." Winterizing a boat by storing it at a marina or another location out of the water is an important part of maintaining its value. Getting the process right is a little harder than it sounds.
Most marinas will handle some basic winterization services. But why add to your fees if you don't have to? Most processes to prepare your boat for winter are easy to do yourself, shaving expenses off the costs of boat ownership. In a few simple steps, you can be sure your boat is ready for six months of storage.
- Treat the Fuel
One of the most important steps when preparing for winter is treating fuel to protect the engine. Sold in most boating supply and sporting goods stores, one bottle will prepare the fuel properly for the year. Simply pour it into the fuel tank and run the engine for 10 minutes to ensure proper circulation. Without this, carburetors and fuel injectors can become jammed with deposits, ruining the fuel system. The cost of replacement? Up to $1,200, according to Boating magazine.
- Protect Engine Cylinders
A boat's engine, without protection, may fail over the winter, costing a small fortune to fix. An aerosol fog can be used to safeguard engine cylinders, keeping things lubricated until your next use. Using the fogger recommended by your boat's manufacturer, you can guard against corrosion over the winter. With the cost of a boat engine running toward $10,000 or more, precaution now can pay off later.
- Change Oil
When you expect your boat to be stationary for an extended period, new oil is essential. To make the switch, simply drain the old oil and replace it with a brand new solution. Use the grade suggested for your make and model. This process can keep moisture from accumulating, which can keep your engine safe from loss of power or total failure.
- Drain the Gear-Case Lubricant
Gear-case lubricant is an essential part of keeping gears, bearings and shafts running smoothly without friction. Changing it can save repair costs. At the end of each season, drain the lubricant and replace it to avoid damage over the winter months. Clear, amber-colored oil is desired; if you see milky or clumpy debris, a change is imperative.
- Pull & Cover the Boat
Don't leave your boat in the water exposed to ice and snow. Instead, remove it from the water for off-season storage. If at all possible, keep your boat in a covered space to avoid water or ice damage. If outdoors is your only option, invest in a boat cover to keep the interior protected.
With boats bringing high annual costs – so high approximately half of new boaters sell their boats and give up the hobby entirely – there's no need to add more to the price of ownership. With these tips, you can make owning a boat as economical as possible, setting you up to create priceless summer memories year after year.
Thinking about upgrading? Read What to Consider When Purchasing a Boat
SOURCE - Selective Insurance - How to Winterize Your Boat