Winterizing your boat important to protecting your investment
It’s that time of the year to think about winterizing your boat motor in the northland, and in the southland, undoing the summerizing.
Since this old fisherman spends part of the winter in Florida and leaves a fishing boat there, it soon will be time to prepare the boat and motor for the upcoming crappie season. In the spring, the motor is summerized, much like winterizing which is necessary here in the colder climes.
Some people use their motors throughout the winter, but for those who put their boating on hold till the ice and freezing weather are gone, it is necessary to take steps to care for the motor during frigid weather.
The statf at the Boat Owners Association of The United States (Boat US) have put together a couple of true and false questions to help determine what is a half-truth, wive’s tale or tall tale related to winterinzing a recreational boat.
Boat US hopes the questions will help set the record straight and help folks prepare their motors for winter.
Ethanol (E10) fuel and engines: If a boat has a built-in gas tank, it’s recommended to leave the tank as full as possible over the winter with a smidgen of room for fuel expansion.
TRUE: Leaving the tank nearly full limits the amount of moisture that can potentially condense inside on the tank’s walls as outside temperatures fluctuate, preventing phase separation of ethanol (E10) fuel. Note one caveat: If your boat is stored in a rack system or indoor storage, check with the marina. They may require you to empty the tank to minimize the risk of fire. TIP: Never plug a fuel vent. Ever.
Ethanol and phase separation: Come springtime, any phase-separated gasoline in the tank can be fixed by adding a fuel stabilizer or additive.
FALSE: Once gasoline phase separates, that’s it. Kaput. End of story. The only solution is to have a pro remove the contaminated fuel and water mixture and start anew -- a difficult, hazardous and costly task for boats with built-in fuel tanks.
However, it’s critical to use a fuel stabilizer each fall to help keep fuel fresh over the winter, keep corrosion at bay and to help prevent the onset of phase separation.
TIP: Put the stabilizer in before you nearly fill the tank for its long winter nap. This will allow stabilizer to fully course through the fuel system as you run the engine when filling with antifreeze.
Freeze damage: Because it’s cold up there, BoatUS insurance claims for engine block freezing come from northern climates.
FALSE: While there are quite a few claims from the colder climates, many boat insurance freeze damage claims also come from southern, temperate states hit by an unexpected freeze or when space heaters fail due to sudden storm power loss.
In the northern climes, storm power outages also are to blame for engine block freeze related claims, however, both areas of the country have their fair share of winter freeze claims due to one reason: the failure to follow winterizing procedures.
TIP: Another option for protecting your engine is adding ice and freeze insurance to your boat insurance – most insurers do not charge much for it, but there are deadlines to purchase (BoatUS offers it for as little as $25 to its insured members until October 30).