The end of the wake boating season is a sad time for those of us who don’t live in sunny states year round. It marks the time to put the boat away for the winter while you dream of warmer times and count down the days until you are reunited on the lake with your boat again. While there are opportunities to hit the water here and there during the winter, most owners choose to store their boats for the season when winter rolls in.
If you live near a temperature-controlled building, the steps you need to take to care for your boat will be fairly straightforward. Otherwise, you’ll need to winterize your boat.
Winterization is often seen as a daunting process, especially if you haven’t done it before. But it doesn’t have to be! We’ve talked to our team of experts, and prepared some options for anyone wondering how to winterize a wake boat.
WHY SHOULD I WINTERIZE MY BOAT?
Winterizing helps to prevent damage to the engine from any water freezing, expanding and cracking important parts of the engine system. It also stops the buildup of gunk, and prevents condensation from forming inside the fuel tank.
You need to winterize your wake boat to maintain optimal engine health.
IS THERE A REASON I SHOULDN’T WINTERIZE MY BOAT?
There are many circumstances in which you would not need to winterize your boat.
If you live in an area where the weather is warm all year round, then you would not need to winterize your boat.
If you can store your boat in a temperature-controlled building (whether it is your own personal garage, or a climate controlled facility) then winterizing is not necessary. This works great for when there may be a random warm winter day, and you are just itching to go for a joy ride you can get your boat out of storage and go ride!
DO I HAVE TO WINTERIZE MY BOAT MYSELF?
In the same way that you can bring your car to the dealer to have your oil changed, you can do the same with your wake boat. If you want to get the most out of your boat, I would recommend having the professionals take care of the winterization process.
Now if you’re old school and like to do it all yourself, the newer closed cooled engine systems have made the winterization process easier than ever before. Simply put, 5 plugs need to be removed to winterize. Go to section 8 of this document to find step-by-step directions!
If you are in the market for a used wake boat, or you already own a boat without the newer engine systems, the following is a rough overview of what it takes to winterize your boat. Be sure to check your manufacturer’s manual before starting the process.
STEPS TO WINTERIZE YOUR WAKE BOAT
- Fill Gas Tank
You make sure that your gas tank is full so that you minimize the chance of any air getting into the tank over the winter. Air in the tank combined with low temperatures can bring on condensation, and condensation turns into water. We all know water in an engine is a no-no!
- Add Fuel Stabilizer
This will prevent buildup in your engine and fuel lines during the long winter.
- Run the Engine
This can be accomplished by either running the boat while it is in the water or out of the water with a hose running water through an adaptor into the engine.
- Add Antifreeze
This is a critical step when winterizing your wake boat. Antifreeze prevents condensation that has formed in the engine from freezing. If this condensation freezes it will expand and could eventually stress the engine so badly that it leads to cracks in the engine block.
We recommend avoiding ethylene-based antifreeze, it can release toxins into the water. Non-toxic propylene glycol antifreeze is the best option.
Winterizing sterndrive systems you will follow the same process for inboard motors with a few additional steps.
To drain the lines you must leave the sterndrive in a down position. With your fresh water source coming through the engine you will bring the engine to temperature.
This allows your coolant and fuel stabilizer to flow through all parts of the engine. Once again for adding antifreeze we recommend following manufacturer guidelines.
- Apply Fogging Oil to Engine
While the engine is still warm after applying the antifreeze to the engine you will spray fogging oil into the engine.
Fill a five-gallon bucket with antifreeze, then close the intake seacock and move the hose to the bucket.
While the engine is idling look for the liquid in the bucket to get low and for antifreeze to discharge from the exhaust.
Now spray the fogging oil! You will see white smoke, and once the bucket with antifreeze is finally dry you can shut the engine off
- Change the Oil and Replace the Filter
While you are doing all of this you may as well change your oil and filter. It is an easier process while everything is warm.