Just because you winterized your boat doesn't mean things can't happen while it's in storage. Remember to give your boat some TLC. Pull back your boat cover and take an inventory on how your vessel is withstanding the winter months. This is one of your prized possessions and the more you care for it during the off season, the better it will run for you on the water during the summer months.
- Check and make sure you do not see any excess water or frozen water in the boat. Wipe up any condensation you find and melt any frozen water. Then inspect your boat for blisters, cracks, holes, or other damage. If your vessel is collecting water, you want to find the source immediately.
- If you did not have time at the beginning of winter, take a moment to scrub the refrigerator and freezer to avoid mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors that can accumulate. Make sure all surfaces are clean, including seats and hardware. Also scrub and clean onboard items such as life jackets, ropes, and other flotation devices. Then store these items in a dry, locked up storage off of the vessel.
- Check the propeller for dings, scratches, dents, or missing pieces. Winter is an excellent time to have your propeller repaired or even replaced. If your prop just needs a good cleaning, apply several clear coats of antifouling. By applying this protective paint layer to the bottom of your boat, you will prevent barnacles and other marine growth.
- Don’t forget to check the anchor! It is a great time to check the anchor chain for rust or corrosion and the rope for any fraying. Many people really love using the anchor bungee line. When off shore anchoring, these lines are very useful because they protect the boat from the constant tug of the wake and the bottom of boat from getting scratched. Replace all items needed now, so all anchor mechanisms work perfectly before spring.
- Confirm the bilge pump to your vessel is in excellent working condition. We hope you will never need to use it, but it will save the life of your boat if it were to ever take on water. Cleaning out the hose, eliminating debris, and replacing the battery is really all it takes to keep the bilge pump running smoothly. A clean bilge pump goes a long way.
- Re-cover your vessel with a durable cover, preferably 100% water proof and breathable. A secondary option would be to shrink wrap your boat.
- Inspect your boat lines and dock ties and replace as needed. Boat lines and dock ties weather and weaken over time.
- If your boat is stored on a trailer, inspect your boat trailer to make sure it’s in top condition – tires, wheel bearings and seals, brakes, and all trailer lights. In addition, look at your vehicle’s factory jack to ensure it will work for the boat trailer. If it will not fit under the boat trailer and sufficiently raise the trailer in case of a flat, you will need to buy a separate jack.
These are all items that can be inspected and fixed during the winter months, making it an easier process when spring arrives and it's time to get your boat in the water.
Each boat is different. Please refer to your owner’s manual as each vessel is unique and yours may have specific requirements or recommendations.