Now that summer’s over and the weather is cooling down, if you own a boat you have likely pulled your vessel out of the water and parked her at home or some other dry dock.
While it’s sad to think that you won’t be back on your boat until next year, you also need to ensure that you keep her primed and protected by properly preparing for fall and winter.
We are offering up the following tips, but remember to also read your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations for keeping your boat protected during the colder months:
- The engine – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when winterizing the engine, but be sure to flush it with fresh water and drain fuel from the carburetor to prevent build-up of deposits. Use fogging oil in the cylinders to lubricate cylinder walls and pistons.
- The stern drive – Do a thorough inspection and remove plant life or barnacles from the lower unit. Drain the gear case and clean the lower unit with soap and water.
- The fuel tanks – Fill the fuel tanks to avoid a build-up of condensation, and add a fuel stabilizer. Follow the product instructions.
- The freshwater system – Drain the freshwater tank and water heater and pump a nontoxic antifreeze into the system. Turn on all faucets until you see the antifreeze coming out.
- The interior – Remove all valuables from your boat. Clean drawers thoroughly and turn cushions on their edges to allow air to circulate. Clean the refrigerator and freezer.
- Cover her up – A cover will keep your boat clean, and also protect her from water and UV rays, which can break down hoses and fade upholstery.
Check your insurance coverage
Even out of the water and not in use, a boat can be damaged no matter where it is. Often, damage from fire or theft isn’t covered unless you have a watercraft policy.
Also, if the weather suddenly turns beautiful in November and you can’t resist the urge to hit the water, you will want that coverage in place.
There are plenty of reasons to keep year-round coverage, but seasonal policies are available if you feel it’s right for you. If you want to know more, give us a call.
If you have a small boat with limited power, you may have some coverage under your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Larger and faster boats, along with personal watercraft, require their own policies.
Of course, you may also be wondering if you should keep your vessel insured during the months you won’t be using it. There are a few things to consider here:
- If your boat is older, you may want look into cash-value coverage instead of agreed value.
- If you have a lot of expensive fishing equipment, make sure you have enough optional coverage so your gear isn’t at risk.
If you want to save money on your coverage, you should also consider:
- Taking a boating safety course, as some policies offer discounts for taking these classes.
- Increasing your deductible.
- Bundling your policies with one insurance company.