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Unlike your home and vehicle which you could see and check everyday during winter, boats are harder to check. Aside from that, it is important to winterize your boat properly to ensure better performance and longer life. Insurance policies may not cover damages caused by neglect or improper boat maintenance. When winterizing, you start by removing your boat from the water and putting it in a covered, dry place. Boats left in the open during winter would eventually have problems. Heavy snow can force the scuppers, thru-hull fittings and event the gunnels.
When winterizing your boat, always check its manual. Since the steps and recommendations from the manufacturer about winterization is already stated there. You could also get somebody who is experienced with winterizing boats, especially if you are not completely confident with your skills or if it is your first time to own a boat.
Here are things that you would need to keep in mind when winterizing a boat:
Keep the fuel tank full. This would ensure that there is just a small space for it to expand. Condensation could cause the fuel to expand and lead to corrosion and clogging.
Protect your engine. Run the engine before changing the oil. A warm oil will make it easier for the impurities to be removed or drained. Change the oil filters. During cold season, the oil would settle on the bottom of the engine block. This may expose other parts of the engine to humidity and corrosion. To avoid this, you could spray fogging oil and removing spark plugs.
Outboard engines should be washed with soap and water. Then drain the water from the engine. In addition, remove all fuel from the carburetor.
Check the propeller whether it may need repairs. You could have them repaired during the winterization process.
Clean both the interior and exterior of the boat. After cleaning the exterior, add some polish on the surface. This would protect the boat from dirt and dust.
Drain all the water tanks. You may also add a non-toxic antifreeze into the water system.
Aside from tanks, water should also be drained from the sea strainer. Most of the times, the seawater strainer is not relieved of any water. This could damage the seal and will only show its damage when spring comes and bilges is flooded. Also remove any important belongings inside your boa, like valuables, fire extinguishers, flares, fenders and other valuables and electronics. You could have a dehumidifier inside the boat to make sure that mildew will not invade your boats interior.
Where you keep your boat during the winter is also a factor. It is important to keep your boat covered. Usually, canvass boat covers about 8 to 10 ounces of canvass would be enough. The bat should also be undercovered to protect it against dust, dirt, and pests. there are also boat owners who consider doing the shrink-wrapping of a boat. You could always purchase do-it-yourself kits to safeguard or when winterizing your boat.
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