Whether you own a boat or personal watercraft (or both), it’s important to take the steps to keep it in top shape year-round so you can enjoy it for many years. Proper storage and care during winter months is especially essential if you live in a climate where you have freezing temperatures. But even if you use your boat or personal watercraft (PWC) all year long, you still need to take the steps to keep it running smoothly. The main goal for winterizing is to keep all water and moisture away from your boat or PWC to prevent freeze damage, mold and mildew and corrosion. You can find steps in your owner’s manual on how to winterize your boat or PWC, and we have additional tips to share below. If you have any questions, reach out to an expert boat mechanic in your area.

Boat Storage

The first step is finding a place to store your boat or PWC. Decide whether you will be storing it indoors, in an outdoor storage structure or in the water. If you have a garage or shed at your house, that’s your best option. You can also store it at your nearest marina, fenced lot or even an indoor boat storage facility (However, be aware that indoor storage is usually more expensive). You can also store your boat in the water. This is perfectly fine if you live in a climate with mild winters.

If you live in a colder climate, make sure to add an agitator. This will help to prevent the water around your boat or PWC from freezing. You will also want to regularly check your watercraft during these months for any leaks, and make sure the battery is fully charged.

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Prep the Engine for Winter

To protect your engine, make sure to drain and remove all water and apply corrosion protection. It’s a good idea to keep the engine covered, but be sure to allow for ventilation to prevent condensation.

Prep the Fuel System

It’s best to use most of your current fuel during your last trips before winter. After you’ve used most of it, fill the tank up with fresh fuel. Add a fuel stabilizer by following the instructions on the bottle. Once you add the stabilizer, take your boat or PWC out for a short trip to distribute the stabilizer thoroughly.

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Prep the Plumbing System

To protect the plumbing system, completely drain the water from the tank by running all faucets until the tank is dry. Close the faucets and then add antifreeze. Run the faucets until the antifreeze comes through.

Finally, double check to make sure water is removed from all systems. Then, remove the drain plugs and cover and store your boat or PWC.

When it’s time to bring your boat or PWC back out for spring or summer, make sure you change the oil and apply lubricant to stiff fittings and seals so they function properly.

Following these steps can ensure your boat or PWC will stay in its best shape, and if you are looking for advice on what to do when the weather turns warmer, check out our tips to prepare your personal watercraft for its first ride of the season.

Personal Watercraft Maintenance Tips Before You Go Out in the Water