If you're a new boat owner, you may not realize the critical importance of winterizing your boat to save it from immense damage over the winter. It's not just a case of "oh well, leaving it out in the weather might result in a little extra rust." There are significant problems that not only can but will occur if you don't take the few simple steps needed to protect your boat's engine, fuel tank, and other inner workings. Here are three steps that are crucial.

1. Apply an Anti-Rusting Coat

Applying an anti-rust coating to your boat is a simple and relatively quick task and can save a lot of headaches later. But it's not just the hull that requires protection. Boat engines are also susceptible to rust and other types of corrosion, such as the type that occurs when different metals exist in close proximity to one another. If you're not planning on using your boat for six weeks or more, whether it's winter or not, you need to fog your engine to prevent this type of corrosion. "Fogging" your engine refers to the process of spraying a special type of oil inside the carburetor. If you leave the boat all winter without performing this service, your engine may need expensive repairs in Spring. 

2. Drain or Stabilize the Fuel

Cold weather causes fuel to absorb water. This water changes the chemical composition of the fuel to an ethanol-water mix, which is extremely corrosive and then spends the rest of the winter working on corroding your fuel tank. Draining or stabilizing your fuel prevents certain fuel tank damage. In addition, the bits of your fuel tank that get eaten away can collect and form a goopy, sludge-like substance. This can then get into your engine when you start the boat up and gum up your engine's moving parts.

4. Drain Water Systems

In temperatures below freezing, anything in your boat that contains water is liable to break from the force of the water expanding as it turns to ice. This includes faucets, showers, the head, water tanks, hot water heaters, and showers, among other things. The damage can mount up to hundreds of dollars if you don't take the time to drain water systems. Even worse, you could end up with engine damage, such as a cracked engine block, when water freezes inside the engine and gearcase.

As you can see, these three problems are much more trouble than they're worth. It's a good investment of time to prevent them by taking the precaution of correctly winterizing your boat before freezing weather sets in. For assistance, talk to a professional like Boater's Landing.