Winterizing Checklist

The following checklist for laying up your boat is adapted from Nigel Calder’s invaluable Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual (Model 420323).
  • Change the engine oil, transmission oil and antifreeze.
  • Drain the raw water system, taking particular care to empty all low spots. Remove rubber pump impellers, lightly grease with petroleum jelly and replace. Leave the pump cover screws loose so that impellers won’t stick in the pump housings. Run the engine for a few seconds to drive any remaining water out of the exhaust. Wash salt crystals out of any vented loops.
  • Check the primary fuel filter and fuel tank for water and sediment. Keep a diesel tank full to cut down on condensation.
  • Squirt some oil into the inlet manifold and turn the engine over a few times (without starting) to spread the oil over cylinder walls.
  • Grease all grease points.
  • Remove the inner wires of all engine control cables from their outer sheaths; clean, inspect, grease, and replace. Check the sheathing.
  • Seal all openings into the engine (e.g., air, inlet, exhaust) and the fuel tank vent. Put a conspicuous notice somewhere so you remember to unseal everything at the start of next season.
  • Inspect all hoses for signs of softening, cracking and/or bulging.
  • If hauling out: Check for propeller blade misalignment and Cutlass bearing wear; tighten any strut mounting bolts; inspect stainless steel prop shafts for crevice corrosion; remove prop nut to check under it.
  • Bring to a full charge. Equalize flooded batteries. Top up. Clean the battery tops. Unless the batteries are being properly float charged (via a solar panel or battery charger with float regulation) remove from the boat and store in a cool, dry place. Bring flooded batteries to a full charge once a month.
Electronics and Electrical Circuits
  • Remove electronic equipment to a warm, dry place.
  • Clean corrosion off all electrical terminals and connections and protect with petroleum jelly or a shot of WD-40 or other moisture-dispelling aerosol. Pay attention to all external outlets, especially the AC shorepower socket.
  • Drain and/or pump system with 30% to 50% antifreeze. Break loose the discharge hose and check for calcification. Wash out vented loops.
Freshwater Systems
  • Pump out and clean tanks. Drain system and/or pump through a 30% to 50% propylene glycol antifreeze solution. Use a water heater bypass, if applicable. Inspect pumps (especially vane and flexible impeller types) for wear. Remove flexible impellers, lightly grease (with a Teflon-based grease), and reinstall.
Stuffing Boxes
  • If hauling out, repack. If wintering in the water, tighten down to stop any drip. Be sure to loosen before reusing the propeller or the shaft will overheat.
  • If hauling out, pull and grease all seacock plugs if possible. Dismantle and grease gate valves. If wintering in the water, close seacocks (except cockpit drains) and closely inspect cockpit drain hoses and clamps.
  • Drain a little fuel from kerosene and/or alcohol tanks and check for water and contaminants. Close LPG or CNG gas valves at the cylinder. Renew filaments on filament-type igniters at least every two years.
  • Cable steering: Remove cables from conduits, then clean, inspect, grease, and replace them. Also, check sheave mountings and clean, inspect, and lubricate cable ends. Rack-and-pinion steering: Remove top plate and input socket screws; clean, grease and replace. Hydraulic steering: Top off fluid and check all seals and hoses for leaks and/or damage.
  • Remove all oil filled compasses from the boat and store in warm environment.