The leaves have finished falling, and the temperature is getting cooler. If you live in an area that experiences cold weather, winter means it’s time to prepare your boat for cold weather.
From cracked engine blocks to broken equipment, cold weather can wreak havoc on your boat. To make sure your luxury powerboat is ready in the spring—at least without expensive repair bills—it’s important to prepare your luxury powerboat before winter strikes. Here’s what you need to do to protect your boat from winter weather.
Winterize Your Engines
After a full season, your boat’s engines have worked hard to provide you and your family with tons of fun out on the water. Since you likely won’t be using your boat during the colder weather, winter is a great time to give your engines the TLC they need.
The most dangerous thing you need to protect your luxury powerboat against is freezing temperatures. Water expands when frozen. If there’s any water left in your engine, it’ll expand and destroy your motor. Follow these maintenance tips to protect your engine from winter temperatures:
- Change the oil – A good old-fashioned oil change will remove any water that may have gotten trapped or mixed with your oil over the season. Plus, regular oil changes are essential for proper boat maintenance. Don’t forget to replace the oil filters as well.
- Drain water from the engines – Open all engine plugs and drain any water that’s still in the engine or the coolant lines. Anything left over the winter might freeze and cause extensive damage to your boat.
- Flush motors with antifreeze – After draining the water from your engines, it doesn’t hurt to flush them with some marine-grade antifreeze. This will prevent any leftover water from freezing and, as a bonus, will help with corrosion over the winter months.
- Add fuel stabilizer – Your boat will be sitting idle for a while. Make sure the fuel stays fresh over the winter months by adding fuel stabilizer to your gas tanks. You should also top off your tanks with fresh fuel to prevent condensation inside the tank.
Of course, the easiest way to winterize your luxury powerboat engines is to go to a mechanic. Some marinas also offer boat winterization services. Having a professional look over your boat from time to time is never a bad idea. Then, you can be sure everything has been done properly and your boat will be ready come spring.
Drain Freshwater and Holding Tanks
Your engines aren’t the only place your boat stores water. Many luxury powerboats—including the Mystic M3800 and M4200—have freshwater and holding tanks that also need to be drained before cold weather arrives.
The best way to empty your freshwater and holding tanks is to get them pumped out. Pumping your tanks out will ensure the water and substances left in the tank can be safely disposed of. Plus, it ensures that all the water is removed from your tanks, helping your boat make it through the winter damage-free.
Clean Your Luxury Powerboat Thoroughly
Before you put your boat away for the winter, give it a thorough cleaning. The first thing you should do is remove things like electronics, blankets, rugs, or pillows that don’t need to stay in the boat over the winter.
Once all the removable things are gone, wipe down all the seats, the dash, and the floors. Make certain you clean up any crumbs or dirty dishes that might have been left behind. Any food left in the boat will attract rodents and pests. A good cleaning will prevent pests from getting into your boat and making a mess.
If you don’t have the time to clean your boat thoroughly (or don’t feel like it), a professional detailer will be able to get your luxury powerboat looking as fresh as the day it left the lot.
Get a Good Cover
Once you’ve got your boat all dry and cleaned up, it’s time to tuck it in for the winter. No matter where you store your boat, you should use a cover. There are three types of cover materials to consider:
- Plastic – Plastic covers (aka. tarps) are the cheapest option to cover your boat, but they don’t offer the same level of protection as the other materials. They’re not ideal to protect high-quality luxury powerboats. You’ll want something a bit more substantial.
- Canvas – Canvas covers are strong and sturdy, but they’re also heavy and expensive. Most canvas covers are custom made to fit your boat. While it provides a great fit for your boat and better protection, it can also be pricey.
- Shrink-wrap – Shrink-wrap offers a tight, protective fit for your luxury powerboat. This is the best option if you don’t plan on getting into your boat over the winter. If you do want
to get into your boat, you’ll have to cut open the wrap.
Whichever cover you choose, make sure it fits your boat snugly and securely. The tighter the fit, the better the protection.
Find a Good Place to Store Your Luxury Powerboat
With your boat wrapped and ready, it needs somewhere to spend the winter months. There are four options for boat storage:
- Outdoor storage – This is generally the most cost-effective option, but it offers the least amount of protection for your boat. Outdoor storage is when you simply park your boat outside—either at your property or on a storage yard. If you choose this option, make sure you did a good job covering it to prevent rain, leaves, and pests from getting inside.
- Indoor storage – Indoor storage is ideal because it provides complete protection from the elements. If you don’t have a garage to store your luxury powerboat, you may be able to rent a storage unit for the winter.
- On the water storage – Some marinas allow you to store your boat in the water for the winter. In cold regions, marinas have bubblers and deicers to bring warm water to the surface to protect your boat from freezing. While it might mean you don’t have to transport your boat, you’ll still have to pay dock fees and cover your boat against the elements.
- Dry-stack storage – Dry-stack storage is when your boat is stored on a covered rack. This is another storage option offered by most marinas. It’s a great option because your boat is protected from the elements but still near the water for easy launching when spring arrives.
If you don’t plan on storing your boat on your property, find a good storage space BEFORE winter hits. The longer you wait, the fewer options you’ll have.
Get Your Luxury Powerboat Ready for Winter
Winter is a dangerous time for boats. Without proper preparation, the cold weather could damage several critical systems resulting in expensive repairs and, worse, no boating in the spring.
Before cold weather strikes, make sure you perform engine maintenance, pump out the freshwater and holding tanks, clean your boat, put on a strong cover, and find a good storage location. If you do all that, your luxury powerboat will be ready to go in the spring.