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Checklist for Boat Maintenance for Fall & Winter Season

Checklist for Boat Maintenance for Fall & Winter Season

by Veronica Jeans, Ecommerce Queen July 29, 2020

Fall and winter maintenance is never fun because it indicates that summer is over. 

Don't abandon your boat now that the weather is less than perfect. Here are a few tips.

What do you need to do to get your boat ready for fall and winter?

Probably the first thing to consider is checking your boat's bottom hull for barnacles and the paint job with a Quick Haul. This means your boat will stay in the hoist and sling for cleaning and checking without a major expense of the boat standing in the boatyard.

Here is a list of things to check to get your boat ready.


Winter is a good time for your fuel system to be included in your regular inspection. Check the fuel system for corrosion and leaks around the fuel system causing corrosion. This is especially necessary for gasoline. Some less expensive fuel tank vent fittings are constructed of inferior material, lending to early corrosion and failure. Inspect the vent fittings as well as the vent hose and clamps. If the fitting is blistered or deteriorated in any way, remove it from the vessel for closer inspection, or replace it.


Winter is an excellent time to deal with the hull and topsides of your boat. Maintain the longevity of your color, whether gel coat or paint you need to wax and compound your hull to stave off the effects of oxidation, UV damage, and the harsh marine environment.


The first thing to determine is whether your props need rehab or can you clean them yourself. This is a perfect off-season job.

If your props need rehab, make arrangements to have your props delivered back to you in early or mid-spring. This will save you time, plus you will be able to avoid last-minute problems, such as finding out that the prop is beyond rehab and needs to be replaced. Most marinas provide this service through other shops that service props full time. Check out our contractors for Seabrook Shipyard.
When you get them back they are usually painted and ready to go. Brass props are shiny and ready for installation.

If your props just need cleaning, apply several clear coats of antifouling. This will help reduce the growth of barnacles, both for freshwater boating as well as saltwater boating. Keeping your props free of foreign growth will keep your props operating at maximum performance.

Great a quite comprehensive checklist from Boat Planet:

These next steps should be handled by your mechanic as part of a comprehensive winterization service:

  • Change the fuel filters and water separator
  • Check the fuel line and bulb and replace if needed
  • Change the oil; do not put this off until spring, as you need to eliminate residual acids and moisture in the system that can damage your engine if left unattended over the winter
  • Replace the oil filter
  • Fog the engine
  • Replace the water impeller; this should be done at least once a year
  • Flush the raw-water system, then fill with fresh antifreeze rated for your winter climate
  • Freshwater cooling systems need to have their coolant level topped up
  • Replace plugs
  • Change transmission fluid, if applicable
  • Check the wires and rotor cap
  • Check the belts and adjust tension as needed
  • Check the hoses for cracks, bulges, or soft spots and replace as needed
  • Check the hose clamps for corrosion or wear and replace as needed
  • Check the shift/throttle cables and tension, then lubricate the cables and linkage
  • Check the sacrificial anodes and replace if more than 50 percent deteriorated
  • Check the prop(s) for nicks and dents
  • Grease the prop shaft and threads
  • Remove the battery (top-up electrolyte level and recharge if necessary) and put on a marine trickle charger

Beyond the Engine

  • After the engine work is done, it makes sense for the service shop to do the following checklist items while they are in the boat:
  • Flush the bilge and add antifreeze
  • Fill the freshwater system and hot water heater with non-toxic propylene glycol antifreeze
  • Disconnect the hot-water heater
  • Pump out the holding tank and add antifreeze to the head
  • Spray down the electronics connectors with an anti-corrosion lubricant, especially where the electronics will be removed for the winter (these connectors are particularly vulnerable to winter corrosion)
  • Remove the bulbs from your navigation and running lights and spray the sockets with an anti-corrosion lubricant

Quick Do-It-Yourself

Even if you have professionals do everything else, you will need to remove valuables, electronics, linens, PFDs, fire extinguishers, flares, fenders, and other loose items. Sort them all in neatly labeled boxes for easy unpacking in the spring.

While you are there:

  • Vacuum cushions and mattress and set them upright to allow airflow during storage
  • Scrub the refrigerator and freezer to avoid mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors in the spring
  • Set out No Damp Dehumidifiers and an odor control product such as MDG Mold/Odor Control to eliminate mold, mildew, and associated smells
  • Oil the hinges and door latches so they will work smoothly next spring
  • Lubricate all snaps and zippers, whether the canvas is left on over the winter or not
  • Almost Done

After all, the greasy work has been completed and you have gotten everything you should out of the cabin, it is time for one final cleaning. Depending on the condition of the boat, you may opt to call in a detailer to make quick work of this tedious process:

Boat Detailing

  • Do a complete wash down of the boat, using specialty cleaners to remove rust stains, tree sap, water runoff, and so forth on fiberglass; these stains can become permanent by spring
  • Wax the hull and topsides, or at least any topside that will be exposed during the coming months
  • If you notice nicks and wear in the boat paint, get them fixed to keep the paint from disintegrating further
  • If you are going to leave your canvas up as a boat cover, protect the Isinglass against damage with a specialty protectant; you should do this on a monthly basis

Check our list of on-site contractors in Seabrook Marina Repair Yard - Contractor List

Here is a checklist for your lines to keep your boat safely moored! Read more...


Veronica Jeans, Ecommerce Queen
Veronica Jeans, Ecommerce Queen


Veronica is the Shopify Queen and best selling author of ‘Shopify Made Easy’ - Step-by-step Blueprint to Launch Your Online Store! Veronica supports retail and online store owners how to build and negotiate all the intricacies of running their business online. She integrates her extensive knowledge in the field of eCommerce and Shopify, along with my international business, financial, and tax expertise, to get my customers to launch successful online stores.

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