Hauling Out for the Season?

Five eco-smart tips for winterizing your boat!

Properly winterizing and storing your boat during the offseason will help prevent damage and make sure you are ready for on-the-water fun in the spring. Below are 5 ways to protect your boat and the environment during the winter season: 

winterizing, boating, hauling out, eco-friendly tips

1. Properly store your batteries

If you take your batteries home, store them in a cool, dry place such as your basement and put them on a trickle marine charger. If you leave your batteries aboard, make sure battery cable connections are tight and free of corrosion, and hook batteries up to a marine charger or leave them unplugged and charge them completely at least once a month. To learn more about which about which battery type is best for your boat, check out the Batteries section of our Green Boating Guide.

2. Use non-toxic antifreeze

Most antifreeze is composed of ethylene glycol (blue-green color) and is highly toxic when ingested. When adding antifreeze to your boat’s systems (i.e. raw-water-cooling system), use propylene glycol antifreeze (orange-pink color), which is non-toxic. 

3. Drain all systems that use water and replace with non-toxic antifreeze as appropriate 

Leaving water to freeze onboard can have damaging impacts to your vessel. Analyzing over ten years of freeze claims, BoatU.S. Marine Insurance found that more than ¾ of the claims involved cracks in the engine block or the exhaust manifolds that occurred because water remained in the engine or cooling system during a hard freeze. 

4. Use a covering that is water/snow proof and provides adequate air circulation

Custom-made canvas or synthetic covers are the best at protecting your boat from the elements, are reusable and allow for air circulation to prevent mildew buildup. Shrinkwrap covers are effective at keeping rain and snow out, but are more susceptible to moisture buildup. Check to see if your marina participates in a shrinkwrap recycling program for the spring season. 

5. Dispose of and/or recycle waste oils, engine coolants and hazardous materials properly

Never dump waste oils, antifreeze or other toxic chemicals on the ground, into storm drains and dumpsters, or open waters. Many marinas have disposal/recycle facilities for these different liquids. Try to avoid mixing different hazardous liquids, which may make them unacceptable for recycling.

To learn about more ways to boat green, download our FREE interactive Green Boating Guide