Say It Ain't Snow

By Michael Vatalaro

A quick bit of planning now will make winterizing your boat go smoothly this fall.

Photo of a marina in winter

As depressing as it might be to start thinking about winterizing and the end of the boating season in early fall, trust me, it was way more depressing writing about it in July when this article was due. But thinking now about how you will tackle putting your pride and joy away at the end of the season can save you time and hassle, particularly if you are like me and you put off the actual deed until the weekend before Thanksgiving. Five major areas of concern are: Exterior Protection, Interior Moisture Control, Engine/Outdrive Maintenance, Trailer Maintenance, and Electronics/Batteries.

Exterior Protection:

Believe it or not, it's time to wax again. A late-season coat of wax will help your boat shed dirt and grime all winter long. After you've washed and shined your boat, you'll need to cover it to keep the elements at bay. A custom winter cover is a great investment, but many boaters also find the semi-custom covers like those from Taylor Made to be effective ( Or you can shrinkwrap your boat yourself. You can get all the supplies you need at or at your local West Marine.

Interior Moisture Control:

Mold and mildew both need moisture to grow. One of the ways to combat moisture is to put proper venting in your winter cover to allow the interior of your boat to "breathe" as it heats up and cools down each day and night, and to leave hatches and locker doors ajar. The other is to put moisture control systems in place such as chemical desiccants like DampRid or Star brite's No Damp. You can also pretreat problem areas like your boat's air-conditioning ducts or enclosed lockers with Pic Organic's "M" a marine-grade mildew and mold killer. This aerosol product is enzyme based, so it keeps killing as long as you don't wipe it off. Spray it on in the fall, and it should keep working all winter long. And because it's an aerosol, you can "fog" your boat or the AC ducting to keep mold and mildew from growing in places you can't reach.

This article was published in Fall 2012 issue of Trailering Magazine.

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