Tips for boating in the winter

November 8, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Fishing and boating tips

Two important winter boating tips  that drastically affect winter boating.


In the winter fuel tends to cause problems. Condensation in the fuel , often caused by temperature changes, will degrade the fuel and harm the engine. The ethanol in fuel will also separate from lack of use and  will destabilize the fuel.It will also then gum up the filters.

Boats that are used in the winter should have fuel/water separators. Stabilizers should also be added to the fuel at every fill up..


You should have  batteries in top condition and fully charged  for the winter. A battery loses 30% of it’s starting power at 32 degrees. A battery charger that will shut off when batteries are fully charged is essential. That will keep the batteries fully charged.

Ice and snow

In areas that has fast moving water, ice may be less of a problem. In still or slow moving water ice will build up.

You should consider placing a bubbler in the water. They are thermostatically controlled and will come on when the temperature drops below freezing. The bubbler causes bubbles to appear around the boat making it less likely to freeze.

Ice forming around the hull can often cause cracks and other hull damage.

Ice and snow on the boat can cause a couple of problems. The added weight as it builds up can cause the boat to sink lower into the water. this makes sinking easier. Also ice or snow blocking scuppers can cause water to accumulate causing even more weight in the stern.

Use a plastic shovel to avoid scratcing gel coat

More winter boating tips from the Coast Guard

  • Fie a float plan so that someone knows where you are going and when you are expected back.
  • Wear a life jacket at all times. In cold water your ability to swim is much impaired. You must be able to stay afloat and keep your head above water.A float coat is a good option. It is warm with a PFD built in.
  • Have a form of communication on you at all times. A boat should have a radio and handheld GPS
  • Dress for the water. Even on a warm day, the water will still be very cold. You need to extra warmth to survive if you fall in. A wet suit or a dry suit is very helpful.
  • Understand the 1-10-1 principle. 1 – You have one minute after being submerged in water to get your breathing under control and realize what has happened. 10 – After gaining your awareness, there are 10 minutes of meaningful movement to help someone self-recover. After ten minutes, it’s likely the cold water temperatures will cause a loss of dexterity in fingers and arms, lessening the ability to recover yourself.. 1 – There is approximately one hour until hypothermia will set in and someone could become unconscious.
  • Keep an eye on the weather and the situations around you at all times
  • Be responsible and don’t boat under the influence. Alcohol will reduce your awareness and cause more rapid heat loss in the water.

Close all the seacocks. Plug the plumbing if it doesn’t have a seacock, so that water doesn’t fill the lines.Make sure the scuppers are clear of debris or leaves,

Check your docklines and use chafe guards.

Check that your bilge pumps are working, even with the battery turned off. The should be hot wired. Check by raising the float switch.

Look for leaks, water, fuel, coolant or oil.

Good ventilation will help prevent mold and mildew.

Ski googles will protect your eyes in the cold.

Wicked Tuna