Winterize your boat
The boating season is ending and winter, a time of the year that's none too kind to boats, will be here soon. BOAT/U.S. (Boat Owners Association of The United States) advises boaters to prepare their vessels now or be prepared to pay for winter damage next spring.
Many boat insurance policies don't cover ice and freeze-related damage, so proper preparation of a boat is essential. To help with the winterizing process, BOAT/U.S. Marine Insurance has produced a Winterizing Notebook. Some tips from this step-by-step guide include:
For a free copy of the BOAT/U.S. Winterizing Notebook, call 1-800-274-4877.
- The best place to store your boat for the winter is ashore. Support the critical areas of the hull--the bulkhead, keel, and motor--and cover the boat to protect the gel coat, wood work, metal, and vinyl. Here's a bonus: boats stored ashore for the winter are less likely to develop blisters!
- If you leave your boat in the water, all eacocks and gate valves, except for the cockpit drains, should be closed or your boat could be on the bottom next spring.
- Add fuel stabilizer to gasoline or diesel fuel.
- Change the engine oil to eliminate residual acids and moisture in the crankcase. Use non-toxic, environmentally-friendly antifreeze to prevent freezing and corrosion in raw water cooling systems.
- If you leave a battery on board to power a security system or bilge pump, make sure the cells are filled with distilled water and fully charged. Clean the terminals with baking soda and apply a coat of petroleum jelly to prevent corrosion.
- Discourage theft--take home electronics, boat documents, and other valuables.