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The glory days of summer and summer boating season will soon give way to the cool evenings of fall, and the frigid few days of winter experienced in the Sunshine State. Regardless of how brief, it’s best to winterize your boat once the warm days pass to help keep it protected when the mercury does dip too much cooler temperatures. When you’re on the hunt for a boat slip near you where you can store your boat, consider that you’ll also need to remember these five tips for winterizing your boat when the time comes.

1. Oil and fuel stabilizers 

Before you store your boat for the winter, you will want to change the oil so that the vessel is stored with clean oil for the offseason, and to prevent corrosion in the engine. You also need to add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank. There are plenty of stabilizer products on the market and a boat slip outfit near you can make a recommendation if you’re unsure which product is best for your vessel. After adding the stabilizer, be sure to run the engine for at least 10 minutes so that it cycles completely through.  

2. Water lines and batteries

To correctly prepare your boat for colder weather, you will need to address the water lines and battery. You need to be sure that you completely drain all water lines in the boat because if you don’t, trapped water could freeze and crack the manifolds or engine block.  You should also make a point to text your charge of the batteries in your boat before storage and some boat owners even opt to remove the battery for the winter months. 

3. Fogging the engine

This specific boat winterization chore goes by a few different names including fogging, pickling, or even smoking your engine. All names mean the same thing, the point of lubricating all the nooks and crannies of your boat’s engine with oil. To complete the task, you will need to squirt a storage lubricant directly into the carburetors so that it can cycle through the engine.

4. Drain plugs

Drain plugs keep your vessel above water when you’re out for a cruise. But, it’s important to remove them for winter when you’re preparing your boat for off-season storage. Identify and remove all drain plugs from your vessel and keep them in a safe place where you’ll easily find them next spring. 

5. Wrap or cover

In harsh winter climates, some boat owners choose to have their boats wrapped with vinyl to protect them from the elements as they sit idle in winter. In Florida, your boat won’t be subject to too many hard winter days, but you can still elect to wrap it for the offseason to protect it from other possible damage like bird droppings, or hail storms. If a cover came with your boat at the time of purchase, that works too to protect the vessel and keep it in tip-top shape for fun in the sun next year.