Winterize Your Boats Regularly To Avoid The Damages From Harsh Climate

At its most basic, winterizing means draining any water aboard or replacing it with enough of the right kind of antifreeze to protect against the lowest temperatures your boat might experience.

Most of those who don’t winterize, or don’t winterize properly, only find out something is wrong in the spring when brown froth starts spewing through a crack in the side of the engine block or what looks like chocolate milk appears on the dipstick.

Repairing freeze damage takes time and all too often involves a complete engine replacement. By the time the boat is in working order, a good part of the boating season will have been lost. Winterizing most boats takes from an hour to a day.

Unless you are located in Hawaii or the Florida Keys, we recommend winterizing your engine if you will be laying up the boat for even a few weeks to minimize the chances that a sudden freeze will put it out of commission next season.

The Freeze Claims Related With The Winterization Of Your Boats

Fresh water expands in volume by about nine percent when it freezes and can push outwards with a force of tens of thousands of pounds per square inch. That expansion can crack an engine block, damage fiberglass, split hoses, or destroy a refrigeration system overnight.

boat shrink wrapping

An analysis of ten years of freeze claims files found that more than three-quarters involved cracks in the engine block or the exhaust manifolds that occurred because water remained in the engine or cooling system during a hard freeze. Those claims come from all over the country, not just from the states that get snow every year. Boaters in the frozen North know they need to winterize, so their freeze claims almost always involve a problem with how the boat was winterized. In the temperate South, the claim files include many more claims where the boat wasn’t winterized at all, or where the boater was depending upon a heater to keep the engine from freezing and the electricity went out.

While winter layup lists can run to several pages and take a month of Sundays to complete, many of those lists include maintenance and cosmetic items that, while nice, don’t make it any more likely your boat will get through the winter unscathed. Even if we have the best of intentions in September when we put together our fall work list for the boat, life tends to get in the way, and all too often we find ourselves rushing to the boat the weekend before a hard freeze is forecast. At that point, all we have time for are the essentials that will protect our boat from damage.

Efficient Storage Is Achieved In Your Boats After Winterization

For most of us, indoor storage is not even an option it's either not available or not affordable. Our choices come down to hauling the boat out and storing it on the hard, or leaving it in its slip in the water. While storage in the water lets you use your boat during warm spells and gets you out on the water earlier next spring, keeping boats out of the water reduces the chance of damage from a number of different causes including


Boats sinks if the owners don’t regularly visit boats which are in water, they may become vulnerable to the slow failure of a small underwater fitting that might have been noticed and fixed


Storage ashore may be less expensive over the life of a boat because a hull that gets the chance to dry out for several months each winter is less likely to develop blisters than a hull that remains in the water.


Boats stored in gated or patrolled facilities are much less likely to be stolen.


Storm damage may occur due to the rise and fall in water level, high winds, and torrential rains that accompany strong winter storms.

boat shrink wrappings

A boat is less likely to sustain damage in the short and the long run if left for long periods on land rather than in the water. On the other hand, since water retains heat longer than air, boats surrounded by air are more vulnerable to a sudden freeze than boats surrounded by water. Boats kept ashore must be winterized, and it must be done earlier than if they were in the water because dropping temperatures will affect them sooner.

Wherever you end up keeping your boat, if you do not plan to use it for a month or more, you need to winterize it. An increasing number of boats can be stored ashore on dry storage racks. These racks are designed for typical boat hulls, but can’t always be adjusted to support unusual or atypical designs. If you have doubts about the support provided by a rack, consult a marine surveyor or consider an alternative winter location such as a trailer, which has adjustable rollers that can be adapted to different boats.

  • We shrink wrap boats and Machinery for protection while in transit. The shrink wrap is ideal for items being transported by road or sea.

    John Doe

  • Shrink wrapping works great for storage. We use a UV stable plastic so the plastic with stands the harmful UV rays.

    Mary Smith

  • Great service. They showed up on time and took care of my boat as promised.

    Daniel Anderson

  • Very affordable service. The boat ran great all year without any disparities.

    Jane Johnson