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Do You Need to 'Winterize' Your Boat in Southwest Florida?

by Duncan Seawall

Florida is a favorite destination for many northerners, thanks to its splendid weather conditions. Though the Sunshine State still experiences winter, it's nothing compared to the unforgiving weather up north. However, rain and storms still rock the region, which may make boating less enjoyable.

Related Blog: The Benefits of Having a Private Dock for Your Boat on Your Property


If you have a boat tucked in your Southwest Florida winter home, you’re probably wondering whether there's a need to winterize it. Well, winter or no winter, a boat still requires routine maintenance to keep it in top shape. And despite the easy Florida winter, you may need to pay extra attention to your boat to protect it from damage. However, the prepping is less intensive than in the northern states.

How Does Boat Winterization in Florida Differ From Northern States?

While taking your boat ashore during winter in the northern states is necessary, Florida's winter is a bit forgiving. You can winterize your boat and still leave it in the water.

However, as Florida experiences warmer and more humid weather during winter, the risk of corrosion is relatively higher. So, you still need to do a thorough prep on your boat if you're going to leave it unused for a while.

How to Winterize Your Boat in Southwest Florida

If you are in Southwest Florida for winter, chances are your boat has been hibernating in its storage. Regardless, you can get your boat ready to brace winter and minimize damage from the elements in just a few steps.

  1. Unpack the boat by inspecting the engine, fuel, electrical, and plumbing systems, to ensure they're okay. Check for cracks and dents, run through the amenities, and clean up where necessary.

  2. Add a stabilizer to the fuel systems – Fuel can decompose when left unused for a long time, leading to engine failure. However, you don't have to empty the fuel tanks when winterizing the boat. Adding a stabilizer will keep your fuel all right and ensure the engine works properly whenever you're ready to resume boating.

  3. Add a marine antifreeze to the plumbing systems – Water damage is the biggest threat to your boat during the winter. It can lead to the busting of systems, corrosion, mold formation, etc. Drain water from all the plumbing systems, then run a marine antifreeze through the systems. Avoid using automobile antifreeze as this is toxic and damaging to marine life.

  4. Use fogging oil and marine lubricant on boat parts – Keep the steel and iron parts from corroding using fogging oil and marine lubricant.

  5. Protect your deck seats with marine vinyl protectant – Apply a marine vinyl protectant on the deck seats to protect them from extreme weather.

  6. Cover your boat – Fiberglass holds up well against the elements. However, the extreme winter weather may be too harsh for the boat. Consider investing in a protective boat cover to keep the vessel sealed from the elements.     

  7. Finally, should you decide to leave the boat in the water, ensure you close the gate valves and seacocks to protect the thru-hulls. Left unprotected, water can get in and eventually sink the boat.

Note: Manufacturer manuals have different instructions for winterizing their boats. Ensure you consult the boat's manufacturer manual to ensure you're doing things right.

Are you in need of a marine contractor for your residential or commercial project to help protect your boat and home all year round? Contact Duncan Seawall today.

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