Winterizing for yachts: how to prepare for the season

Nov 10, 2021 | Superyachts

Properly winterizing and storing your boat will help prevent damage and make sure you are ready for on-the-water fun in the spring. Consult your manufacturer’s manuals and service guides for specific winterizing, flushing and maintenance instructions before you begin. Plan ahead, create a checklist (see below) and gather all the items you will need to winterize and store your boat.


Below Deck

  • Clean and dry bilges, and verify pump operates properly.
  • Pump out the holding tank and add propylene glycol antifreeze to the head.
  • Drain all systems that use water (e.g. freshwater system, shower sump) and replace with propylene glycol antifreeze as appropriate.
  • Remove all food and beverages and clean food particles that may tempt winter critters.
  • Secure all ports and hatches.

Store in the Water

  • Close all seacocks except for cockpit drains and plug exhaust ports.
  • Check dock lines, chafe guards and fenders for proper placement, and tie off tiller or steering wheel.


  • Custom-made canvas or synthetic covers• Best at protecting your boat from the elements and is reusable.
    • Allows for air circulation – prevents mildew.
  • Shrinkwrap
    • Effective at keeping rain and snow out, but susceptible to moisture buildup.
    • Professionals should shrinkwrap your boat, as it’s easy to damage your boat and/or ignite the shrinkwrap.
    • If using a different covering, make sure that it’s water/snowproof, and there’s airflow.


  • Fill fuel tanks, add stabilizer, and change fuel filters and separators.
  • Change oil and filter.
    • Check coolant level in the freshwater-cooling system and add coolant as necessary.
    • Run antifreeze through the raw-water-cooling system. Use propylene glycol antifreeze

(orange-pink colour) as it’s non-toxic.
• Dispose of and/or recycle waste oils, engine coolants and hazardous materials properly.


  • Fill fuel tanks and add stabilizer.
    • Drain the gear case and add eco-friendly lubricant.• Flush engine using an “ear-muffs” device.


  • If you take your batteries home, store them in a cool, dry place such as your basement and put them on a trickle marine charger.
  • If you leave your batteries onboard, make sure battery cable connections are tight and free of corrosion and hook batteries up to a marine charger, or leave them unplugged and charge them completely at least once a month.

    Did you know?
    Analyzing over ten years of freeze claims, Boat U.S. Marine Insurance found that more than 3/4 of the claims 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.

    Source: Green Boating Guideline,


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