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Boat Winterization

Boat Winterization at Hartley Bay Marina 

Boat WinterizationWinter is right around the corner – have you done or thought about boat winterization? Boaters have to be extra careful during the winter months. When you don't prepare your vessel for hibernation, winter weather can cause damage (cracked blocks, corrosion,and worse). Once spring comes around, you're going to hit the boat doctor right in the middle of his busiest season.

So protect your craft by performing dealer-required maintenance in the fall, before winter’s icy grip takes hold. Here's what you should do:

Tips for DIY Boat Winterization

It is important to clean and dry your removable boat's head before storing it. Sinks and showers, especially built-in ones, need antifreeze.

If you're buying a boat cover, make sure the waterline is protected. Polytarp covers are cheap, but like any cover, they should be used with a frame to ensure snow is distributed evenly and stays away from the weak spots on the boat. Make your own frame from 2x4s, 2x2s, or PVC pipes. Additionally, you can make reusable frames from aluminum tubing with kits that allow you to adjust the angle of the tubes when attaching them. 

A rigid frame can use strapping rather than 2x2s or 2x4s. This thin strapping bends nicely to shape the shrink wrap. It's better at deflecting water, snow, and ice. Strapping may be more effective with two layers in heavier snow areas since it is usually knotty and weak. Using screws makes it much easier to disassemble and reassemble the frame.

A polyvinyl cover provides maximum water resistance and is resistant to mildew and stains. Secure the cover so wind will not blow snow under it or cause it to shred.

Covering your boat with shrink wrap is another option and will not be subject to debris or heavy snows that might dislodge a tarp.

Winterizing Your Boat’s Engine

As a marine engine owner you know how important it is to winterize your engine. You'll be grateful you did it when spring rolls around and you are ready to go out on the open waters. A boat shrinkwrap and winterization service is vital for a far more important reason than boat safety.

The most dangerous winter hazards for engines are frozen parts, corrosion, and deteriorated fuel. 

Remove the engine cover and all wires, connectors, and clamps and inspect them for damage or fraying. Replace any cracked or damaged hoses. Examine the tension on the belts and adjust as needed. Touch up paint nicks to keep them from corroding. Change the oil and filter after bringing the engine up to temperature.

Flushing the engine with water will ensure it is clean. Many outboards have a garden hose attachment. Using earmuffs, you can reverse flush outboards and sterndrives. Keep the engine running, but don't let it overheat, until the water flushes clean. 

Make sure that all outboard telltales are clean by wiping them down with a piece of wire, and that the engine is stored in a vertical position so that the water drains properly. It is possible for even a small amount of water in the engine to freeze and cause serious damage. You need to replace the antifreeze in inboards and sterndrives periodically to avoid small ice pockets forming, which can cause blockages.

A four-cycle engine is prone to gumminess because the main jets are so small. Remove the carb drain plug to ensure all the fuel has been drained.

Using a block of wood, wedge the prop between the anti-ventilation plate and prop nut, loosen the prop nut, and remove the prop. Make sure the prop, hub, and splines are in good condition. A water pump impeller replacement is cheap insurance against water pump failures next season.

Look for a milky color in the gear case oil, which indicates water in the oil. Metal chips are one indication that your gears are grinding more than your horsepower.

Winter maintenance can save you the time spent waiting on the trailer in the spring - you'll be able to launch your boat in no time.

Park your boat on a flat surface when storing it on land, and don't park it over poison ivy if you plan on having the hull painted before you use it again.

Why Winterize Your Boat?

As a result of winterizing your boat, your powertrain will last longer by preventing freezing, dormancy, and corrosion.

Even in the summer, water, UV Rays, and wind can cause considerable damage to a boat. During the harsh winter months, you should make sure the fluids are topped up in your boat, and the boat is inspected so it can start up again in the spring. Our team can handle the pre-winter maintenance of your boat.

Let us take care of your boat over the winter. Alternatively, you can bring your trailer to the marina, tie the boat down, and we will handle the rest.  Your boat will be winterized, pressure washed, shrink wrapped, and put out of commission for the winter. In addition, we will inspect the hull and lower end, and any apparent problems will be noted for your consideration.  

When springtime comes, contact us or fill out a request on our website and we'll winterize, launch, and test your boat.  Come on over and it will be ready for you.  We can winterize, shrink wrap and deliver your boat to self-storage if that's what you prefer  (delivery charges apply).  

Our Boat Winterization Services

We offer boat shrink wrapping and winterization at Hartley Bay Marina that can save you hundreds of dollars in repair costs. The process will ensure the longevity of your boat, maintain its value and allow you to get ready for summer surf in no time. Protect your boat against harsh weather with our shrink wrapping service.

When wrapped properly, enclosures, vinyl, and canvas will be protected from cold-weather and wind-related damage. In addition, it will protect the finish from UV damage.

 Boat Winterization Image Near Atwood island. Taken by Martin Mellor c/o Melanie Ayerst on Facebook