Winterizing an Outboard Boat

May 06, 2020

After a great season of fishing or riding, if you don’t intend to continue using your outboard boat through the winter, it’s time to think about winterizing before storing. Sure, it seems like a hassle at first, but if you really take pride in your boat’s condition, you might actually enjoy prepping it up to sit in your garage like a nice, brilliant trophy. Not to mention, the small maintenance tasks you do before storage can save you a lot of time, money, and stress, because improperly winterized boats can develop serious mechanical issues. This guide will help you winterize your boat, but if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to stop by Gordon Bay Yamaha. We’re located near Muskoka and Toronto, Ontario, in Lake Joseph.

Clean Everywhere

If you want your boat to stay in good condition while in storage for several months, one of the most important steps is to clean it thoroughly. In other words, make it spotless from front to back, ensuring there’s no extra dirt or grime still sticking around. If there’s any mud dried inside the boat or gunk on the outside, be sure to scrub that out really carefully. Also, be sure to clean the windshield and canvas top. If you don’t put the boat away clean, it can do damage to the paint, cause mold, and it just won’t look as nice when you take it out again!

Empty and Flush the Coolant

With inboard or sterndrive boats, you need to flush the cooling system with fresh water so that particles don’t do damage to your engine. First, drain out the coolant, and then flush it out with the fresh water. After that, you can refill it with antifreeze.

Prepare the Fuel System

You’ll need to stabilize your fuel, also, so begin by changing the fuel filter and filling the gas tank. Then, pour in the appropriate amount of fuel stabilizer (the appropriate amount depends on the size of your tank). Finally, turn your engine on and let it run for a few minutes so the stabilizer mixes in and settles in the system. Leave your engine running for the next step.

Clean the Engine

While the engine is still running, take some fogging oil and spray it on the air intakes. This product stops moisture from building up in your engine’s cylinders, so it’ll prevent corrosion and rust. You could even take it an extra step and wipe down the outside of the engine with a soft cloth and fogging oil.

Change Oil

Just like on a car, you can change the oil on an outboard motor by removing the filter, emptying the oil, replacing it with new oil, and installing a new filter. Every time you change your oil is a chance to check for leaking seals; when the oil’s draining, watch out for milky-colored oil, which indicates a possible leak.

Lubricate Moving Parts

Use a light coat of water displacing lubricant to put over all the moving parts on your boat, such as cabinets, hinges, and storage areas. Even though it’s being stored away from the rain, water can still get in, and the lubrication will stop moisture from corroding and rusting your boat.

Double Check

Now that all the maintenance work is done, your boat’s ready to be put into storage! But first, you should give it a once over again, making sure all the wirings and fittings are in good condition. If you notice anything that’s not in the greatest condition, we recommend bringing it in to have it checked before storing it.

Cover and Store

It’s important to store your boat in a flat storage area with as little moisture as possible. Also, place a breathable cover over your boat, so that it blocks anything harmful while still allowing airflow. If you store it on a trailer, chock the wheels before putting it on there. Lastly, if you have no choice but to store it outside, check it regularly to brush debris off the cover, and inspect it after storms or other harsh weather for damage.

It might be a bit of a chore, but if you spend an afternoon winterizing your boat properly, it’ll be in great condition in the spring when you pull it out of storage. When you’re winterizing your outboard boat, you’ll want to inspect every part of it, and if you ever notice any damage or parts that need to be replaced, feel free to call our service department. At Gordon Bay Yamaha, we proudly serve the areas of Muskoka and Toronto from our Lake Joseph dealership and Service Center.