New Boat Owners Resources for Winterization

By West Marine Staff, Last updated: 8/10/2020

Winterization involves protecting your boat and its systems against the expensive damage that freezing conditions can cause. Boaters in places like Minnetonka, Detroit or Kankakee—where icy winters are the norm—need no convincing of the need for this. But even boaters in more moderate climates like Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia or California don't necessarily get a pass. According to the marine insurers at BoatUS, states like these generate the highest number of freeze-related insurance claims. That’s because boaters in more temperate locations who bet on skating through the occasional cold snap can get stung for a bundle when they lose. To learn how to winterize the different systems on your boat, check out the West Advisor articles listed below. For a helpful checklist of winterization projects and for links to all the products you need, be sure to visit our Boat Winterization Homepage.

Choosing Antifreeze for Your Boat’s Systems

Gallon jug of West Marine propylene glycol antifreeze

West Marine propylene glycol antifreeze is recommended for winterizing potable water systems, air conditioning systems and all engines.

This article will help you select the right antifreeze for your boat. Along with explaining why propylene glycol is a safer choice, this article covers the different applications for antifreeze, antifreeze temperature ratings and the difference between freeze protection and burst protection. Read article.

Winter Boat Storage

This article provides points to consider when calculating the financial costs and risks associated with wet versus dry storage. The article also provides an overview of dry storage options, including dry stacking, boat lifts, custom cradles, boat stands, shrink wrapping, boat covers and tarps. Read article.

Winterizing Your Gas Inboard or Sterndrive

A cracked manifold or other calamity caused by a hard freeze can put a real dent in your wallet. Winterizing your sterndrive or inboard engine is the best way to avoid this. This article covers engine winterization tasks, including fuel stabilization, adding antifreeze, fogging the engine and engine oil and transmission oil changes. Other tasks covered include checking your exhaust system and inspecting hoses. Read article.

Winterizing Your Outboard Motor

Engine winterizing kit

Engine Winterizing Kit plumbed to flushing adapter on outboard lower unit.

Protect your outboard motor against costly freeze damage. Along with a brief primer on how to select antifreeze, this article covers fuel stabilization, motor flushing and water removal, engine fogging, changing the oil and the use of engine winterization kits when replacing the water in motor passages with antifreeze. Read article.

Winterizing Your Marine Diesel or Genset

Winterizing your diesel engine(s) is a step-by-step process. When you’re done, your engine will have clean oil, stabilized fuel and a cooling system that’s either completely drained or filled with antifreeze. You will have inspected key components, covered all openings, left big reminder notes and listed all required repairs. Your engine will be ready for spring commissioning with a minimum of hassle. Your diesel marine generator also needs to be winterized, and most of the steps are the same ones you need to take to winterize your boat’s diesel propulsion engine. Read article.

How to Winterize Potable Water Systems on a Boat

Water heater bypass kit with hose and fittings

West Marine offers a variety of winterization kits to make winterizing boat systems easy. Some like this water heater bypass kit save boaters money by eliminating the need to fill the water heater with antifreeze.

Not winterizing your boat’s freshwater system runs the same risk as not winterizing your boat’s engine. Unless all water is removed and replaced with antifreeze, you run the risk of a freeze destroying water lines and equipment. The article provides an easy three-step procedure for removing the water from the system and replacing it with antifreeze. Read article.

Winterizing Marine Sanitation Systems

In the event of a hard freeze, residual water in your boat’s sanitation system could turn to ice and cause expensive damage to system components. Protecting marine sanitation systems against freeze damage is actually quite easy. This article describes how to get the job done. Read article.

Winterizing Marine Air Conditioning

Marine air conditioner heat exchangers and lines are susceptible to damage from a hard freeze. This article explains the difference between domestic and marine air conditioners, covers antifreeze selection and provides an easy four-steep procedure for winterizing marine air conditioners. Read article.

Combatting Mold and Mildew on Boats

MDG mildew control

M-D-G Mildew Odor Control Bags eliminate mold with a penetrating vapor.

Moisture and humidity in a laid up boat can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. Once mold and mildew gain a foothold, expensive damage to upholstery and other cabin contents can occur. This article discusses how to reduce moisture and humidity with active or passive ventilation and the use of calcium chloride crystals. The article also provides a three step process for mildew control, which is to first remove the mold, second fumigate and third to apply a mildew blocker. Read article.

Quick Links to Winterizing Products