Essential maintenance tips before winterizing your boat

Steaming - clean your boat efficiently

Steaming, or steam cleaning as it is also known, is an effective way to clean your boat. Using hot water under high pressure, you can get your boat clean. A good tip is to steam clean your boat shortly after taking it out of the water. This prevents the green color of the boat from drying, which makes it much easier for you to remove large parts of it with hot water (and you don't have to work with chemicals later).

When you start steam cleaning, it is a good idea to set aside an area at a time (e.g. starboard side) and work efficiently either forward or backward at the waterline. NOTE! Avoid the mist coming into contact with deck details or stickers, as these will quickly be damaged by the water pressure.

The area which always takes the longest is the stern of the boat. This is generally where you'll find the most growth, on and around the engine bracket and the engine itself, so expect to use chemicals to remove the growth. Before using chemicals, rinse off what you can with hot water under high pressure as a pre-wash.

Circulation of fresh water in the engine - freshwater flushing

Freshwater flushing is important to flush out all the salt water in the engine and avoid corrosion during storage in the winter. You can easily do this yourself by connecting a fresh water hose to the engine (check what kind of outlet your type of engine has for this). Normally, there are two ways to connect fresh water:

  • Threaded coupling that connects to the outlet for the cooling water
  • These are installed above the water inlets on the motor. NOTE! If you have a water inlet at the front of the engine, this must be taped over to ensure that you maintain the water pressure in the engine during freshwater flushing.

The next step is to turn on the water and make sure water is coming out of the water inlet before starting the engine. Turn the engine on and let it idle for at least 10 minutes to ensure the engine is at a good working temperature. This is so that all thermostats and valves open fully and to flush out any salt water residue. Allow 10-15 minutes to finish the freshwater flush and disconnect the equipment again. If the engine has a winter maintenance program, you can also do this at the same time, check what kind of maintenance your engine needs.

Also ensure that the gas tank is relatively full and that you use the engine manufacturer's gasoline preservative when you pour it into the tank. This will ensure that the gasoline is of good quality when you start up in the spring.

Watch our video on freshwater flushing


Shells and growth

Shells and growth can be a problem in the fall when the boat is taken out of the water. The volume of growth depends very much on the conditions where the boat is moored during the boating season. The area that usually requires the most work is the stern of the boat. Here are some quick tips on what you should do to get rid of the growth:

  • Use hydrochloric acid to remove growth on the engine and engine bracket. This will remove all growth effectively and make it easier to rinse off at the end. If you cannot achieve the desired result after one application, you can repeat the treatment
  • NOTE! Remember that this is a hazardous material, use suitable protective equipment (described on the label of the container). Also stand in a well-ventilated place (preferably outdoors)
  • Keep galvanized materials away from the mixture, as the mixture will damage this (for example, your boat trailer). Therefore, it is important that you consider what the boat is standing on when doing this job
  • Use a roller with a handle or radiator brush to put distance between you and the acid mixture
  • You can also use hydrochloric acid on grout at the waterline, this will make it easier to wash the waterline of the boat and make it completely clean
    • Avoid getting hydrochloric acid on decor, etc
    • You can also use the hydrochloric acid mixture on acid-resistant details (NOTE: DO NOT use on aluminum and other materials that do not tolerate acid). Check this in advance

Battery maintenance

The quality of your battery is an important safety factor when you're at sea. You can take a preventive approach and ensure reliable batteries by taking simple maintenance steps. When your boat has been cleaned and prepared for winter storage, it's time to take the batteries out of the boat and charge them before putting them away for the winter. You can purchase good battery chargers at boat and car dealerships or other stores that sell such items.

You should also remember to clean the battery terminals and battery clamps at the end of the season to ensure that the equipment works when you use it next season.

During the winter storage period, you should also trickle charge the battery, either by charging it at regular intervals or by adding a trickle charger. This easy step increases the chances of trouble-free operation next season.

We hope this winter boat storage guide was helpful. Follow these tips to ensure a healthy and happy boat for many years to come. Best of luck with your winter storage and enjoy the off-season!