When your boat goes into storage for the winter, it not only becomes a fancy, warm, waterproof hotel for critters, but it also becomes a tropical snack bar. How so? You know those awesome, coconut-smelling oils, sunscreens and lotions that you and your passengers wear to protect you skin from the sun all summer long? To a hungry raccoon, they taste as good as they smell and the residue from those lotions is ALL over your boat’s vinyl seats, lifejackets, towels, etc.!
So, on one score, I’m warning you about the importance of properly cleaning and shrink-wrapping your boat before putting it in storage to keep hungry critters that don’t hibernate, like raccoons and squirrels out of it. I’m also advising you to invest in boat insurance coverage that protects your boat all year-long (and includes vermin protection!). You can be 100% covered this winter with BOATsmart! Assure Marine Insurance (oh, and you’ll be eligible to save 25% off your annual policy). But there’s more to getting your boat ready for the harsh, Canadian winter than simply signing up for your boat insurance policy, and if you’re the DIY-type, you’ll want to reference our ‘Winter-Ready Checklist’ below to service your boat before the winter arrives.
Boat Winterization… in Canada.
The cold weather and long stretch of time that your boat’s engine is sitting stagnant means you need to be extra vigilant each fall to properly prepare your boat for the Canadian deep freeze. Winterizing your boat starts with reading the owner’s manual and determining if you’re up to the task. The boat winterization procedure should be detailed in the manual, but If you are the least bit unsure of the appropriate winterization procedure for your type of boat or of your skill, you should visit your local marine dealer for advice and service. It’s not worth it to take a guess – you could spill environmentally dangerous substances by accident, or you could cause engine damage that will put a cramp in your boat launch next summer!
The Ultimate Winter-Ready Checklist:
Step 1) Clean the hull of your boat with an environmentally-friendly marine detergent or algae remover.
Step 2) Empty the bilge of any excess water and clean it out using a marine-grade bilge cleaner or just soap and water.
Step 3) Drain and flush the engine’s cooling system.
Step 4) Fill the boat’s fuel tank.
Step 5) Clean (or replace) the fuel filter.
Step 6) Remove the spark plugs and fog the engine cylinders with a rust inhibitor.
Step 7) Lubricate all moving parts.
Step 8) Clean off any excess grease, lubrication, dirt and marine life.