Learn how to dewinterize a boat in 7 simple steps

By Tom Keer

May 27, 2015

Your buddies stopped by the house and just told you they stung 'em; time to de-winterize your boat.

Your buddies stopped by the house and just told you they stung 'em; time to dewinterize your boat. Haste makes waste, so here's a partial list to help you move through the process on how to dewinterize a boat without missing a step:

  1. Check your water pump and thermostats. The impeller on a water pump goes bad about every 200 hours, and this little rubber part is what keeps water flowing to cool your engine. The thermostat regulates the water temperature, and if it's off the water flow to your engine will be too hot or too cold. Replace if you're near the 200 hours. Check your hoses as well and replace those that are cracked.

  2. Check your fluids. When learning how to dewinterize a boat, you need to pull the dipstick and check your oil, top off if necessary. Replace filters. Oil and gas filters specifically, and if you didn't change them when you put them up in the fall you'll want to change it now. The fuel filter should be changed about every 100 hours.

  3. Check your bilge pump. There are a few parts to check, that being the circuit, the pump and the automatic switch. When water enters the bilge it hits the switch, so if the pump doesn't kick on then you might be in trouble.

  4. Paint the bottom. You'll only need to use anti-fouling paint if the dewinterize boat stays in the water for the season. Scrape and sand the bottom, wipe down and paint.

  5. Trailer check. Leaf springs can rust, brackets can corrode, so get your boat off the trailer and replace as necessary. While you're working on the trailer check your lights to make sure they are operational, and regrease your wheel bearings. Replace tires with flat spots or ones with degraded rubber.

  6. Add in your safe boating gear. A partial check list is one life jacket per boater, a throw cushion, a fire extinguisher, a bell and whistle, a flare, and a mirror. Check your radio to make sure it receives and transmits.

  7. Mop up. This is the last step to dewnterize a boat. Make sure you charge your battery, add fresh gas, check your navigational lights, and be sure your electronics are working.

Splash for a sea trial.

Now that you are ready for the season, check when free fishing days are happening in your state!

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.