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7 steps to winter your boat early for a simpler spring



Boat owners follow the seasons like clockwork. The boat appears in the spring, goes wild during the summer and overwinters when the weather gets cold.

It takes a lot of work to prepare your boat, but it’s worth the effort!

Each boat has different routines for testing equipment. Use these steps as a general guide and then check your user manual for more detailed instructions.

Winter your boat for spring fun

Step 1: Check the battery


You can choose from a few different types of boat batteries. In this example, we will refer to the most common type of boat battery, a flooded battery.

Before taking your boat out for the season, top up the battery with fresh, distilled water. You are in good shape if the battery holds a strong charge during a tester.

Then remove the wires from the charging posts and scrub away dirt and rust. A small wire brush should do the trick.

Finally, coat the posts with lithium grease to protect them from further erosion.

Step 2: Test the electronics


Test all switches, knobs and electrical equipment on the boat. All electrical systems are connected, so turn the switches on the rudder and cabin. Now that the battery is running, turn it off and see if the automatic bilge pump float switch works.

Step 3: Change engine oil


If you did not change the oil before storing the boat for the winter, it̵

7;s time to do it now. Do not forget the expulsion oil either. Fill or change them as needed.

When wintering your boat, you should also check your engine for:

  • Power steering fluid levels
  • Coolant levels
  • Leaks under the engine area
  • Visible cracks or wear in fuel lines

Step 4: Fill the cooling system


You can fill the cooling system with equal parts water and antifreeze if you flushed it out before storing your boat. If you left the water / antifreeze mixture in over the winter, drain it before filling it.

Check the hoses for cracks or wear and look for any visible leaks.

Step 5: Inspect the fuel tank and fuel lines


Your fuel tank and fuel lines may develop rust during the winter. Hopefully you filled the tank before storing it, and no moisture had a chance to settle.

However, fuel lines tend to crack when exposed to cold temperatures. Inspect and replace if necessary.

Step 6: Put your safety equipment in order


This step is potentially life-saving. Make sure your safety equipment is prepared, has not worn out and is not visibly damaged.

Follow these safety equipment steps:

  • Make sure you have enough buoyancy aids.
  • Read the expiration date for fire extinguishers.
  • Test all lights in the cabin and on the deck.
  • Check the signaling equipment, such as spouts, flares and whistles.


Step 7: Check that the belts are worn


During the low season, the belts that connect the motors and motors can quickly wear down. Use your hands to check these belts to see if there are tears in the fibers.

Press the belts down slightly to see if there is too much slack. If you notice black soot around the machinery, you may want to replace your belts with new ones.

Bonus step: Hit the water!


Everything checks out, and you eventually go out to the water.

When you return to land, check out our helpful boat guide:

You keep your boat in good condition, so you should cover it for accidents. We offer boat insurance at competitive prices!

Contact your local, licensed Pekin insurance agent to get boat coverage in place today.




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