Florida boating is a year-round activity, but even Sunshine State captains may benefit from a few cold-weather boat maintenance suggestions. After all, a year-round season needs even more attention to maintenance. North of the Mason-Dixon line, boats are frequently housed in lay-up or entirely winterized; south of the Mason-Dixon line, boats are frequently exposed to the weather year-round. This necessitates extra care.
Use this time of year as a motivator for general upkeep. We’ve included some of the must-dos below, as well as what to do if the temperature drops close to freezing. Boat maintenance ideas for a Florida winter include:
Inspection of the fuel system
Inspect the fuel system and address any problems. Corrosion from saltwater may be devastating. Examine the vent fittings and replace them if necessary.
How are the propellers performing? If a cold front is approaching and you’re taking a vacation from boating, pay attention to the propellers. Whether they need a simple cleaning or a complete rehab, now is the time to have it done.
Prime the hull
The time for waxing and compounding the hull and topsides is ideal. Essentially, your job during the winter season is to prepare that ship so that when the weather is great, your boat is as well.
If a Florida miracle occurs and a freeze warning is issued, bundle up and prepare for a rare Florida boating occurrence: winterizing. Remove any loose equipment from the boat and thoroughly clean it.
Consider adding a fuel stabilizer to your engine gasoline to help avoid varnish buildup. The engine is protected by an aerosol fog solution, which is simple to use. For obvious reasons, drain any water from the engine. If it freezes and expands, it may cause your engine to bow.
Keep your boat safe
Whether you choose to winterize your boat yourself or hire someone to do it for you, see the cost as a chance to safeguard this investment that provides you so much joy. Your vessel will be completely ship-shape once the near-freezes have passed and the sun has returned to thaw the Florida seas. And, of doubt, you drank a lot of hot chocolate during your little break from boating.