In the last few years many things have changed when it comes to winterizing your boat. There are many things to consider. Does the marine facility have the proper equipment? Is your technician up to date on training? Are OEM parts being used for service? Is the facility open all season?
Now more than ever having a technician with the proper training is coming into play. A 4-Stroke outboard engine has components that need freeze protection to avoid damage. In these engines, parts of the fuel system use lake water to cool the fuel to provide maximum performance. Many people don’t realize this is necessary work to be done in the fall and it can be a costly repair come spring time, not to mention the down time while the boat is in for repair.
Everyone has heard that aftermarket parts are just as good as OEM parts. While it’s nice to believe, this is not always true. There can be a significant difference in engine performance when it comes to something as simple as using the OEM engine oil. Having the proper technician winterize your boat is also a great time to do the regular maintenance that is required. Yes, regular maintenance is required. Check your owner’s manual. Someone that is properly trained can recognize a problem in the making and can save you both time and money.
Every season people will have their boat winterized, or do it themselves, and park the boat in a field or at the cottage. This is an extremely cost effective way of doing it, however there are dangers that are lurking. After only a few snowfalls there can be enough weight accumulation on a covering system to start doing damage. Every spring there are many boats that required costly repairs such as windshields or gel repairs due to weight or physical damage from falling debris. Check with your insurance company to see if you will have coverage if the boat is damaged while being stored in an unsecure area.
When the weather gets cold everyone likes to head south. Including many marine operators. Making sure your boat is stored with a shop that is open all winter is crucial to ensure the protection of your vessel. Shops that are open all winter will typically go around and knock the snow off and keep an eye out for potential damage.
Submitted by Rob Sharp, Parts Manager at Town & Country Marine