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Winter Boat Maintenance Tips to Keep You on the Water All Year Long

frozen boat during the winter

Winter typically means the end of boating and fishing season. Some diehards, however, are always prepared to spend their wintertime on a boat. Visit any marina around the country during the colder months and you're sure to find a few boats docked in the water, fully prepared for some winter boating. If you want to be one of those diehard boat owners who's ready for a cold-water adventure, here are some tips to make sure you’re always prepared.

Change the Lower Oil Unit

Before you set out for some winter boating, change the oil in the lower unit of your boat's motor. Even with new seals, water can creep in and mix with the oil, causing corrosion or cracking. When the seals are exposed to cold water, they can shrink much more quickly, causing moisture buildup. As the temperature outside begins to drop, 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

Servicing your boat's engine should be a top priority if you plan to do any winter boating. Condensation can build up in your engine, and the ethanol in the fuel can break down due to long stretches of inactivity. The winter only exacerbates these problems, especially when there are breaks in the weather and the temperature warms up.

To combat these effects, install a new fuel and water separator before winter and use a 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

A dead battery can ruin your winter boat excursions before they even start. Boat batteries lose power naturally (even when not in use) and can fully discharge during long periods of inactivity, even if the battery has been disconnected. 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 stored on a lift, the engine needs to be flushed with freshwater after each use. Make sure the engine is completely drained of water prior to subzero temperatures setting in. If your 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 reduce buildup in the engine and keep everything running smoothly for your winter boat use.

Using a Boat Lift

Jet Dock boat lift for cold water outings

With winter temperatures come freezing water. You don’t want to risk storing your boat in the water when it freezes. Using a Jet Dock boat lift will ensure your boat is ready in a moment’s notice. 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. When warm temperatures return, a Jet Dock can be simply and quickly reassembled and ready to use.

Enjoy Winter Boating with the Help of Jet Dock

Despite the cold weather, boating and fishing enthusiasts will do just about anything to stay out on their boat in wintertime. Keep your boat ready to go and avoid costly damage and repairs caused by cold and freezing temperatures with the help of a floating boat lift from Jet Dock. Have a question or need additional information? Reach out today.

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