As it gets colder, you may not be going out on your boat any more, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about it for the season. Diligent owners gather the right boat supplies or hire the right professionals so they can weather-proof their vessel for the harsh winter season. Here’s a guide to which products you should add to your list.
Helpful Boat Supplies for Winterizing
1. Engine Oil
Even though you may not be revving up the motor anytime soon, it’s still important to conduct an oil change before the weather gets colder. As the old oil ages, it will start degrading, creating an acidic environment that will corrode your engine. With the right synthetic engine oil, your boat will be ready for the water when the weather begins to thaw. If you use mineral-based “standard” oil, it’s a good idea to add oil stabilizer. It protects your gearcase oil the same way fuel stabilizers protect gas or diesel fuel.
2. Fogging Oil
In the long layover of winter, the temperature of different parts of your engine will become lower, attracting particles of moisture. Over time, it can cause corrosion and warping on different valves and rings. Apply it throughout the engine by spraying into the carb until the motor stalls (at the end of running antifreeze through the motor) — the oily glaze will deter the condensation of any excess moisture.
3. Fuel Stabilizer
Just like engine oil, your fuel will also begin to break down if left to its own devices over the winter months. Adding a fuel stabilizer will keep the liquid cohesive and help avoid the development of gummy residues throughout your tank. If you use fuel containing ethanol, be sure to use a marine rated stabilizer specifically for ethanol fuels. Fill the tank so you don’t get condensation on the tank walls, but remember to keep the total volume not quite full — otherwise, temperature changes could cause the liquid to expand and leak.
4. Water System & Engine Antifreeze
First and foremost, make sure you use NON-TOXIC antifreeze. Beware of “impostors” that claim on the label that they are for RV and Boat winterizing. Yes, they are considered “non-toxic” because they are made with propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol. But some contain alcohol and are combustible. They also damage seals, valves, diaphragms and cause other damage that will cost you much more than the 50 cents or dollar you may save buying the cheaper antifreeze. Be careful when purchasing engine antifreeze. There are some out there that are only rated to -60° but that’s undiluted. If you have any water in the engine, there’s a very good chance this antifreeze won’t be strong enough to handle a cold Ohio winter. So stick with the engine antifreeze rated at -100° because a couple dollars more now could save you thousands if you crack a block and have to replace an engine.
As you start preparing to winterize your boat, head over to Harbortown Marine in Vermilion, OH, to gather the right boat supplies. The marine supply store not only has a vast inventory of useful boat care products like bottom cleaners and mildew protection, but they also have a staff that takes pride in providing maintenance advice to Erie County & Lorain County boaters. You can speak to a friendly shop representative by calling (440) 967-8072 or by sending a message through their website.