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When to Winterize Your Boat: Tips for Boaters in Cold Weather

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It’s that time of year again when boat owners have to start winterizing their vessels. If you’re not sure when to winterize your boat, then read on for some tips. The most important thing is to pay attention to the temperature. When it starts dropping below freezing, it’s time to take action!

At what temperature should you winterize your boat?

It can seem intimidating to have to think about winterizing your boat and when to do it, but thankfully there’s an easy way to tell when it’s time. When it starts to get below freezing at night (below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius), you should winterize your boat. This is because frost can cause significant damage to your boat if it’s not winterized in time.

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What month of the year should you winterize your boat?

Every area of the country is different, so there isn’t one set month of the year when you should winterize your boat. It depends on where you are located, and what time of the year it gets cold (below freezing). To make sure you don’t miss the frost date, you can either keep a close eye on the temperatures as it starts getting into the fall/winter; or you can look up the frost dates for your area. While the frost dates won’t be perfect (and you’ll still need to check the temperature yourself), there are many guides out there that will give you a good indicator of when to expect frost. This will hopefully help you narrow it down to the right month.

Why do you need to winterize your boat?

Many people wonder why you need to winterize a boat at all since you don’t typically winterize other vehicles, such as your car. The reason a boat is different is because there is water in the boat. As water freezes, it expands and can crack lines, metal engine blocks or really any kind of container that it’s in. If you’ve ever left a full water bottle in the freezer, you’ve seen this concept come to life.

Also, make sure you have a good boat cover (like the ones by this brand).

Can you wait to winterize your boat if you are still using it when it is freezing at night?

You can certainly risk it (especially if you have heated storage for your boat during the night where it won’t go near or below freezing). However, if it is staying below freezing during the day, you should winterize your boat asap. Again, this is because it can risk water expanding in important parts of your engine and ruining your boat.

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What should you do if you let your boat freeze, and it got damaged?

If you accidentally let your boat freeze, don’t panic, there might be fixes. However, unless you are trained boat mechanic, don’t attempt to fix it yourself. Go to a mechanic and let them evaluate the best options and do the repairs. There might be simple fixes that a trained, knowledgeable mechanic is able to do that can still be reasonably priced.


So there you have it. It’s best to be cautious when it comes to your boat and be prepared to winterize as soon as possible once your boating season is winding down (especially if your boat mechanic is booked out a few weeks). But even if you let your boat freeze, there may still be steps that a boat mechanic is able to take to save your boat and get you ready again for next boating season!