Make a winterizing list for your boat

Make a winterizing to-do list

By Rex Allen Holden

With the end of another boating season fast approaching, it will again be time to haul and winterize my sailboat.

Every year, I have trouble remembering where I put stuff the season before. I still cannot find the repair kit for the inflatable dingy.

This year, I’m making a plan and writing down where I put everything. I’ve included the following on my winterizing to do list:

  • While boating, make a list of future repairs or problems to tackle in the off-season.
  • When unpacking the boat, make a list of what goes home and what stays on board.
  • Remove all food and anything that could freeze or attract critters.
  • Clean the boat, and give the cabin a good front-to-back scrubbing.
  • Check the bilge.
  • Air out the boat, and use moisture and odor absorbers.
  • Check and clean anchors, chains, lines and hardware.
  • Check the boom for bird nests.
  • Clean and check canvas, zippers, sails and lines.
  • Check the engine, and winterize following manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Remove old gas from small outboards. Ethanol can cause major problems if it sits too long.
  • Check the head.
  • Winterize and pump out holding tanks.
  • Check and winterize your water tank. I like to blow out my water lines because I have a terrible time getting antifreeze out of my water system in the spring.
  • After hauling, I take my batteries home and charge them. Then, I shrink wrap my boat, which saves me a lot of clean up in the spring.

It’s difficult to remember everything, but if you start with a list and update it each year, you will be ahead of the game when it comes time to fit out next spring.

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