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How do you winterize your boat in Canada?

Nov 21, 2017

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If you're a boater in Canada, you know the importance of taking time to winterize your boat. The many advantages of winterizing your boat include longevity of the boat and its operating systems, being a responsible, environmentally conscious boater, operating a sea-worthy vessel, and being ready to get back on the water when spring frosts disappear.

Benefits of DIY winterizing

The benefits of winterizing your boat yourself will require you to really get to know your boat. By learning the necessary steps to ensure your marine vessel is properly maintained, you will also become a more experienced and confident boater. However, it may not turn into any cost savings. You need to consider your skill level and how much time is required to complete the work to winterize. And if you miss an important step, it may be more costly in the the long run. If you're new to boating, it might be worth hiring a professional to complete all the important steps to winterize your boat.

Winterizing procedures for boaters in Canada

The steps you take to winterize your boat will depend on the size of boat, the type of motor(s), and where you store your boat. Overall, there are some main tips to follow. The best place to start is the owner's manual which will contain many tips and tricks to ensure your boat is well maintained and stored properly.

Water and fuel systems

Making sure all fluids are taken care of will go a long way to keeping your boat well maintained:

  • replace engine oil
  • flush and drain cooling water
  • stabilize the fuel
  • check and replace any old or leaky batteries
  • replace gear oil
  • grease and lubricate engine fittings to protect against oxidation, rust and corrosion
  • winterize shower and water tank
  • drain fish boxes, hoses and pumps
  • remove the drain plug from the hull and leave the boat with the bow high

Environmentally friendly winterization

When removing boats, piers or docks from the water, make sure you clean and wash down the entire boat to prevent the the spread of invasive plants and animals. Follow the Clean, Drain, Dry program developed by the Invasive Species Council of BC. It's also important to collect and properly dispose of any oil, fuels and bilge so that toxic chemicals don't enter the waterways.

Winter storage solutions

Depending on where in Canada you boat, the weather will dictate storage. Storing a boat indoors is ideal to avoid damage from the elements or rodents. There are many secure boating and storage facilities across Canada.

If you're leaving your boat outside during the winter months, remove all seat cushions to avoid vermin infestation. Ensure all openings are closed and consider a tarp or a shrink-wrap system. Keep in mind that although a tarp will keep out the majority of water, more winter storms on the horizon make it advisable to have a custom-made canvas or synthetic cover. These are re-usable and allow for air circulation. For areas with an abundance of precipitation, a shrink-wrap cover will keep out snow and rain. It's important to hire a professional to shrink-wrap your boat for optimum installation and proper air circulation.

Taking the steps to winterize and store your boat properly will help to avoid any unnecessary insurance claims.