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Winterizing Your Boat

Winterization makes an easy start to next boating season. Paying a marina can cost between $150 and $1,000, or more depending on the type of boat and number of engines.

You can do it yourself with hand tools and a place to work with running water and adequate ventilation. Have a service manual handy and, when possible, an extra pair of hands. Be prepared to get familiar with all the working parts of your boat and save a little money.


Fuel Treatment

Winterization starts with prepping the fuel supply by treating it for storage. Run stabilizer through the tank, feed lines, and engines before it sits for several months. Engine manufacturers sell fuel treatment through the dealership.

Keep the tanks nearly full to reduce the space where condensation can build. Run the treated fuel through the engine until it thoroughly circulates – 30 minutes at an idle, less if you run the engine at higher speeds.

A two-stroke outboard may need an additional fuel decarbonizing treatment after the fuel stabilizer. It removes built-up carbon from cylinder heads, pistons, rings, and grooves, reducing the overall risk of engine failure. Sea Foam is a well-known decarbonizing agent or use the original engine brand.

The engine’s cooling system is flushed with clean water while running the engine to distribute the fuel conditioner and fog the engine. The engine needs to be hot for the oil change first, then begin flushing, fogging, and filling with antifreeze. Adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Tip: Add the stabilizer treatment to the fuel while the boat is still in the water, so it can circulate on your last ride or two of the season and top it off with treated fuel later.

In the <next article>, we will get into the details of flushing and draining the system, lubricating and fogging the engine.


Tiger, J., 2013. Top Winterizing Tips, https://www.boatingmag.com/top-winterizing-tips

Free Image: YouTube.com, Volvo Penta at Idle