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Boat Maintenance Tips for the Winter

Showing inside of a center console bay boat

In Florida, boating is typically a year-round activity, but even those who live in the Sunshine State could benefit from following a few cold-weather boat maintenance tips for the winter. A longer boating season often means more boating hours making the demand for upkeep even higher. While boats up north are often stored away and winterized, Florida boats can stay in the water year-round which means they are exposed to the elements even more. Here are some helpful maintenance tips as you prepare for a Florida winter.

Do A Full Inspection and Repair as Needed

Winter is a great time to do a full inspection of your boat to make necessary repairs to keep your boat running smoothly all year long. Make sure to inspect the engine, fuel, electrical, and plumbing systems to ensure everything is ok. Also check for any cracks and dents and clean up where necessary.

Fuel can decompose when left unused for a long time, so it would be a good idea to add a stabilizer to the fuel systems which will protect your fuel and ensure the engine will work properly whenever the warm weather returns and you are ready to resume more frequent trips. Saltwater corrosion can be devastating, so take a look at the vent fittings and replace if needed.

Florida winters can tend to run on the milder side, but if you notice a cold front is about to come through and you won’t be in the water for a little while, take a look at your propellers. How are they performing? Whether they require a simple cleaning or complete rehab, now is the perfect time to get some extra routine maintenance taken care of.

Water damage is one of the biggest threats to your boat during the winter. It can lead to systems breaking down, corrosion, mold formation, and more, so it’s a good idea to drain water from all of the plumbing systems and then run a marine antifreeze through the systems. Try to avoid using automobile antifreeze which is toxic and damaging to marine life.

Lastly, make sure you protect your deck seats from extreme weather with marine vinyl protectant. It’s also a great opportunity to wax and compound the hull and topsides. Take any loose equipment off board and give your craft a thorough cleaning.

To Store or Not to Store?

After you run through the maintenance tips above and decide you want to store your boat for the winter, here are some winter storage options:

  • Leave it in the water: In warmer climates (like Florida), many choose to keep their boat in the water or in their boat slip year-round. Make sure you check on your boat weekly, because if it ends up developing a leak or a big storm comes through, your boat could end up at the bottom of the lake or ocean.
  • Trailer your boat: If you own a boat trailer, you can simply cover your boat and keep it in your garage, yard, or storage facility. This option is fairly inexpensive, and you can easily access your boat all winter long.
  • Store it outside in a boatyard: blocking your boat or storing it outside without a trailer is another popular option which can be more affordable than indoor storage.
  • Dry stack your boat: Many marinas will pick up your boat with a forklift and stack it with other boats in a climate-controlled storage facility, away from the outdoor elements.

Whether you choose to winterize your boat yourself or hire someone else to do it, it’s essential to perform boat maintenance each year to safeguard your investment and ensure many years of fun out on the water. If you are local to the area, our marina offers both dry and wet boat storage options as well as a variety of boat rentals if you are looking for a fun weekend getaway. Stop by or give us a call today!