Boat Tips and Maintenance: Winterization

Boat Tips and Maintenance: Winterization

Posted by Jennie Spillane

Now that's a WRAP!

With the boating season in the Pacific Northwest ranging from May to the end of August we see boats slowly disappear from the lakes, rivers and channels of the PNW waters as the temps get colder. Whether these boats are stored in your own personal garage, under cover, in a boat house, etc one thing's for sure, if your boat is not winterized you’re putting it in grave danger of being useless the next season. 

Water can freeze, expand and will damage anything trapped inside from lines and filters to the engine block and setting water can start rusting engine components. Your engine has delicate parts where acidic, corrosive wastes, salt and corrosion buildup can damage it. Fuel can also break down or grow dirty, further damaging components. So now you know why, but what do we do when we winterize a boat? 

Arguably the best part of our premium winterize is that we run all engines on RV non toxic antifreeze. This means in the spring there are no drain plugs to put back into the engine block in the spring. The engines sit fully “pickled” so there isn’t any room for rust or scaling to build up in the water passages. 

It’s Not Just About The Winterization Though…

One thing we really like to drive home when people look at starting to put their boats away is now is the time to service your boat. That way we get a chance to look over the engine and systems for any issues, and there are no surprises in the spring. The end of the season is the time to get fresh oils in the engine and transmission or lower unit. With that, another major thing that a lot of people don’t think of is treating the fuel system. Fuel systems are commonly forgotten about and it's very important with ethanol in fuel these days. It’s pretty much impossible to empty all of the fuel from any engine system. There is always old fuel somewhere and straight gasoline starts to deteriorate around 30-60 days and ethanol fuels break down even faster than straight gasoline. This can leave deposits in fuel lines, carburetors and other parts of the fuel system. 

Outboard Engine Myths!

LASTLY: A big myth is just because you have an outboard engine doesn’t mean you don’t have to winterize. THIS IS WRONG! We do over half dozen outboard replacements every year due people being misinformed about outboard engine winterization! More goes into it then getting the water out of the engines, we treat the fuel systems and run the engine on a brine mix that coats all of the engine cylinders with a light layer of oil to keep any rust or condensation out of the engine block while they sit.

The Union Marine Advantage

Union Marine offers a full range of winterization services and specials. This includes everything from a basic winterization service, to a full premiere winterization package, including shrink wrapping and winter storage. For those who are too busy, no problem we offer pick-up and drop-off service as well as on-site winterizations with our mobile service team. For larger vessels we also do full system winterization including the generator, air conditioning systems, water systems, live wells, fish boxes and ballast systems. We’ll leave no system untouched and make sure your boat is ready for next season when you are! Schedule your appointment today!