Keep Your Boat Afloat in the Off Season

Progressive offers tips to prepare your boat for winter

As the summer boating season comes to a close, many boaters are preparing their vessels for winter storage. Leading boat insurer Progressive wants to remind boat owners about a number of steps they can take to make sure their boats are properly protected during the off season.
"Taking the right steps now to protect your boat will not only provide you with peace of mind through the long, cold winter months, but can help you avoid a hefty maintenance bill in the spring," says Dominic Mediate, Progressive’s boat product manager.
Some slip-proof tips for winterizing your boat:

Get your engine winter-ready – First drain the water from the engine completely and fill the cooling system with environmentally safe antifreeze. Remove spark plugs and fog cylinders, and wipe down engine with fogging oil or similar moisture displacing lubricant.

Check your fluids – Change the oil and filter, and ensure fuel tanks contain stabilizer and are filled to the desired level. And don’t forget the lower unit! If there is any water left in the lower unit, it can freeze and cause the unit to crack.

Keep your boat sufficiently covered – If you are using a standard canvas or plastic cover make sure it is properly secured and sturdy enough to handle any snow-build-up. For added protection against the winter wind and snow look no further than trusty shrink wrap, which can be used to cover exposed areas of the boat. If possible, apply shrink wrap or other covering to the tongue, trailer jack, and winch.

Don’t forget the trailer – To be sure your trailer is ready to roll when spring comes back around put it up on blocks, oil the rollers, trailer jack and winch; and grease the bearings.

Remove the battery – Maintain the charge and keep the battery conditioned through the winter by removing it from the boat and storing it properly.

Keep your boat from "going condo" – To keep birds, rodents or other vermin from using your boat as their winter residence make sure there are no possible entrances, and spread a deterrent like moth balls through the vessel.

Show your love – Check on your boat periodically during the winter months.

Check your insurance policy – Make sure you’re properly protected in case your boat is stolen or damaged in the off season. A stand-alone boat insurance policy can give you that protection. "Having specialized boat insurance can make a big difference in the event you need to file a claim," explains Mediate. "Some boaters might think it’s more convenient to just add a boat endorsement to their homeowners policy, believing it offers more protection than it actually doe