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Daylight savings is behind us, and the first day of spring has officially passed us by. For those living in cooler climates, that means warmer weather is just around the corner. And for boat owners specifically? Well, that means it’s time to begin de-winterizing your boat. Fortunately, we have some helpful tips for de-winterizing your boat this season.

A boat docked in the water.
A boat docked in the water. | Daniel Kopatsch/Getty Images

When is the right time to start de-winterizing your boat?

This is a tricky one. As it turns out, different boat owners have different ways of answering this timely question. However, according to Chaparral Boats, you’re likely to find a common thread among those answers. And that thread? It has to do with the temperature outdoors. 

As Chaparral Boats explains, most boat owners will tell you to hold off on de-winterizing your boat in preparation for spring until the temperatures outdoors are consistently above freezing. “Because much of the winterization process involves protecting your boat against the effects of freezing temps, you’ll want to ensure that your hard work last season does not go to waste,” Chaparral Boats added.

But once those temperatures are consistently above freezing? It’s time to uncover your boat and begin de-winterizing your boat in preparation for spring.

A pontoon boat on Boone Lake.
A pontoon boat on the lake. | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Start de-winterizing your boat by checking its engine

According to Galahad Marine, the first thing you want to do when de-winterizing your boat for spring is check its engine. After all, your boat has been sitting in storage for quite some time. That’s why, Galahad Marine reports, it’s so important to give your boat’s engine a thorough look. This should also include an oil change and inspecting your boat’s outdrive. Galahad Marine also recommends adding the correct oil additive so that your boat’s engine remains corrosion-free and clean.

Galahad Marine reports that you should take a look at your boat’s cooling system too. Look out for wear and tear throughout the system. If everything looks good, Galahad Marine suggests refilling your boat’s cooling system as part of the de-winterization process. 

Aerial view of a boat on the water
Aerial view of a boat on the water. | Gazeau J/Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Check your boat’s battery before hitting the open waters

No one wants to get stuck on the water. That’s why Better Boat suggests checking your boat’s battery when de-winterizing your boat in preparation for spring. If your boat’s battery is dead, you’ll have a much easier time finding out and replacing it before getting into the water. 

Be sure to inspect your boat’s fuel system too. As Off the Hook Yachts explains, “Check your fuel filter to ensure that it is clean and clear. You will also want to make sure that none of your fuel lines are cracked or damaged. If you do see damaged parts such as these, be sure to replace them before taking your boat back on the water this season.”

And once everything looks good? You’re ready to fuel up your boat.

A pontoon boat and a Couple walking on a dock on the Mississippi River MN in summer.
A pontoon boat on the water. | Donovan Reese Photography via Getty Images

De-winterizing your boat should include cleaning it

This one goes without saying. Your boat has been sitting for a while. As a result, it’s probably a bit dusty. That’s why Discover Boating suggests giving your boat a thorough cleaning when de-winterizing in preparation for spring. You might also want to give it a thorough waxing too. According to Discover Boating, the wax will help seal the pores in the hull’s gel coat, which will protect it from oxidation and make it easier to clean. Don’t forget to clean any pieces of vinyl, canvasses, or carpets too.

And once your boat is looking fresh and you’ve finished de-winterizing it in preparation for spring? It’s time to start planning that first boat trip of the season.