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Top Winter Services for Winter Boating

St. Augustine, FL, may not be known for frigid temperatures, but the Atlantic Ocean certainly is, especially over the winter. While cooler waters are no reason to put your boat on ice, you do need to make boat maintenance a priority to ensure your vessel stays in top shape this winter.

With that in mind, the St. Augustine Marine Center team has put together this list of winter boat maintenance tips. If you want to keep your boat in great condition this winter season, you should: 

1. Paint the Bottom

Bottom painting involves applying specialized paint to the underside of your boat that stops algae and barnacles from sticking to the surface. Since these growths love cold water, bottom painting is especially important during the winter months. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way in preventing unwanted drag and ensuring your boat glides through the water. 

This is one of our team’s top services! Schedule your bottom painting with us today!

2. Check Out Your Engine 

Even if you plan to leave your boat stowed at St. Augustine Marine Center all winter, you still need to get your engine ready for the colder months. You should:

  • Change the oil

  • Check the fuel system

  • Oil all moving parts

And don’t forget to add antifreeze to prepare for any unexpected cold weather that comes our way. Freezing temperatures are rare in St. Augustine, but they do happen. 

4. Make Sure Your Batteries Are Charged

Remember that batteries can lose their charge faster when it’s cold outside. You wouldn’t want to plan a day on the water only to find out your boat won’t start because the battery’s dead.

To avoid this, take good care of your batteries this winter. Check their fluid levels, clean the connections, and keep them fully charged. If you’re not going to use your boat for a while, connect a trickle charger to your battery. 

5. Inspect the Bilge Pump 

Storm surges and rough winter seas increase the chances that your vessel will take on a bit of water. Ensure your bilge pump is functioning correctly and that its float switch activates without issue. Taking a few minutes to test your bilge pump from time to time can save you a lot of headaches. 

6. Buy a Boat Cover

A high-quality boat cover is indispensable in the winter. It protects your boat from harsh weather elements, including rain, snow, and UV damage. Ensure the cover is well-fitted and secured, providing ample ventilation to prevent mildew and mold growth. 

Ideally, you should purchase a boat cover designed for your make and model. Avoid the one-size-fits-all options, as they can blow off or provide inadequate coverage. 

7. Clean Out Your Pipes 

If your boat has a plumbing system, it’s important to drain any water from pipes and tanks to prevent freezing. Failing to do so could leave you with a mess when you uncover your boat. For good measure, use nontoxic antifreeze in the system and ensure all valves and seals are in good working order. 

8. Verify All Navigation Equipment Works 

Winter often brings reduced visibility and harsher navigation conditions. Ensure all your navigation equipment is functioning correctly by checking your GPS, radar, marine radios, and any other electronic navigation aids. Keeping these systems in top condition is crucial for safe winter boating. 

9. Assess Dock Lines and Moorings for Damage 

Winter storms can put extra strain on dock lines and moorings. Inspect these for wear and tear and replace them if necessary. Consider using chafe protection to prolong the life of your lines and keep your boat securely moored all winter long. 

10. Replace Your Safety Gear 

Review and update your safety gear. Check the expiration dates on flares, ensure your life jackets are in good condition, and replace any expired or missing items in your first aid kit. 

Need a Safe Place to Lay Anchor This Winter?

Winter can be hard on your boat, even in a relatively warm place like St. Augustine, FL. Why not take the hassle out of boat maintenance and winter storage by partnering with St. Augustine Marine Center? 

At St. Augustine Marine Center, we offer everything from wet and dry boat storage to maintenance and repair services. Let us keep your boat safe, reliable, and looking great all year round.

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