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Keeping Your Boat Cold Water Ready During the Winter

frozen boat during the winter

Winter is upon us but for some, boating and fishing season never ends. For the diehards, their boat is always prepared and ready to go at a moments notice and when the weather breaks, they are out on the water. If you go to any given marina around the country, there is always a few boats still docked in the water, fully prepared to take on the cold winter months ahead. So what if you want to be one of those diehard fisherman that is always ready for a cold water adventure? Here are some tips to make sure you’re always prepared to head out onto the water, even in sub zero temperatures.

Change the lower oil unit

Before you take your boat out in the winter, change the oil in the lower unit. Even with new seals, water can creep in and mix with the oil, causing corrosion or even cracking. When the seals are exposed to cold water, they can shrink much quicker, causing moisture to build up. As the temperature outside begins to drop, be sure to check the oil after each outing. When replacing the oil, it’s a good idea to also replace the plug screws that seal the gaskets.

Avoid condensation and fuel breakdown

Your boat's engine should be a top priority if you want to be able to use it during the chilly months. Condensation can build up in your engine and the ethanol in the fuel can breakdown due to long stretches of inactivity. The winter only fuels both of these problems, especially when there are breaks in the weather and the temperature warms up.

To counteract the potential for problems, install a new fuel and water separator before winter and use fuel stabilizer in your gas every time you fire up your boat. These should reduce the risk of a costly repair or even worse, being docked for the entire winter.

Install a smart charger

One of the worst feelings a boating extremist can have is when they’re ready to fire up the engine and head out onto the water and the battery is dead. Boat batteries lose power naturally, even when not in use and can fully discharge during long periods of inactivity, even if the battery is disconnected. In order to avoid this problem, install a battery with a maintenance charger, sometimes called a trickle charger. This kind of “smart” charger will give your battery juice when it’s needed and will avoid overcharging and exhausting the battery when not in use.

Flush your engine

If your boat is being stored on a lift, the engine needs flushed with freshwater after each use. Make sure the engine is completely drained of water for when sub zero temperatures set in. If you boat is slipped in saltwater, there should be a built in flush on the side of the boat to attach a hose and flush with freshwater. This will help reduce build up in the engine and keep everything running smoothly.

Using a boat lift

JetDock boat lift for cold water outings

With winter temperatures come freezing water. You don’t want to risk storing your boat in the water and the water freezing because of the Polar Vortex. This is especially important if your boat is docked in northern states where the temperature falls below zero quickly and often. You want to be able to have your boat ready at a moment’s notice and using a JetDock boat lift will help you do that. Our floating boat lifts dock your boat completely out of the water, avoiding damage from harsh temperatures. If the water starts to freeze and it’s time to store your boat elsewhere, our floating boat lifts are portable and can be stored indoors, away from the elements until the weather breaks. Once warm temperatures do return, a JetDock can be simply and quickly reassembled and be ready for use.

Regardless of the weather, boating and fishing enthusiast will do just about anything to stay out on the water all year long. Keep your boat and your boat lift ready to go and avoid costly damage and repairs caused by cold and freezing temperatures.

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