Boats can be a big investment that pays great dividends if properly maintained (think fun, sun, family, and friends!). Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds Coloradoans to winterize boats prior to storage so dividends keep paying next spring when the boat is back on the water.
“Boaters are rightfully anxious to get back on the water in the spring,” says CPW Boating Safety Manager Kris Wahlers. “It can be really disappointing when they find out their boat isn’t working because of a mechanical issue. A stalled boat is not only inconvenient and usually costly, it could be a big safety problem too.”
CPW’s Boating Safety Program suggests several ways to winterize boats.
Get water out before a hard freeze (temperatures at or below 28 degrees Fahrenheit or -2 degrees Celsius). If water is inside a sealed container, it may not evaporate and needs to be drained. If not drained, the water turns to ice at these temperatures, causing expansion and possible damage to the container. If that container is the engine, manifolds, water pumps, ballast tanks, or bilge, there will be significant damage.
Top off the marine fuel stabilizer in the tank. This helps keep the water out and the fuel healthy as the boat rests for a few months without the engine running. Adding an additive to the fuel and fogging the cylinders also helps to keep the engine in good condition.
Change the oil and gear lube prior to winter boat storage. Expelling the old lubricants also helps to empty any water that may have collected there. Restoring oil and lube to proper levels ensure the water stays out. When draining fluids, be sure to look for metal shavings or signs of water so that they can be addressed prior to storage.
If you don't have time to winterize your boat or the tasks seem daunting, call your local factory authorized center for professional advice or assistance. Completing smaller services like these now can help to avoid serious problems next spring.
Store the boat safely. Keep the boat covered, wrapped or indoors to prevent accumulation of water or snow. If snow collects on the cover, knock it off before it gets too heavy as it could break the windshield.