Do I Need To Winterize My Boat in California?

winterize your boat California

  -What Winterizing Looks Like In California-

If you’re an East Coast or Midwest boat owner, chances are you prepared your boat for the winter back in September or October. Here in Southern California we rarely need to worry about winter weather. However, even though in most cases it is not necessary to winterize your boat in California, we recently interviewed an experienced boater – and one of our favorite clients – who keeps his powerboat in Anacortes, Washington, to see what winterizing entailed. We wanted to know why boaters should put time and effort into a boat they won’t be using for a number of months!

As it turns out, winter weather can wreak havoc on a boat that’s not properly prepared for hibernation. We’re talking cracked blocks, corrosion, clogged filters, engine issues, and more.

Winterizing Your Boat – Step By Step

Here’s what our experienced boat owner recommended doing in the Fall:

  1. winterize your boat californiaFlush the sea water systems with fresh water. This would include engine and generator cooling, and air conditioners. Here is a Youtube video of properly flushing an outboard from
  2. Wash down the heads with fresh water, and flush the sinks and showers. If temps drop below freezing (not likely in SB) these systems should also be flushed with anti-freeze. Clean and dry the bilge.
  3. If the boat gets hauled out, the bottom should be pressure washed. A proper bottom scrub will prevent lots of future issues! In the Spring be sure to install new zincs.
  4. Change fluids and filters. We recommend changing the engine oil, generator oil, transmission fluid, and other filters, so fresh fluids are in the units during the inactive months. Fill the fuel tank and fuel stabilizer. Check coolant level.
  5. Guard against dampness! Low temperatures and wet weather can lead to mildew and mold. Remove any unnecessary fabric (blankets, towels, rugs, cushions). Drying chemicals, heaters, incandescent lights, and dehumidifiers can all help combat condensation. Open lockers for air flow and take home portable electronics.
  6. Batteries should be checked and disconnected, or maintained on a “smart charger.”

We think the best place for your boat during the winter months is dry docked, undercover, in a climate-controlled storage area. However, this can be expensive or may not be available in your area. Another option would be to shrink-wrap your boat. At the very least, cover and secure the boat well with a sturdy tarp.

Winterize Your Boat – The Bottom line

The time and effort you spend winterizing your boat in the Fall will have a direct effect on your boat’s performance – or lack thereof – and will certainly save you time, effort and money come Spring. And that’s a lesson all of us boat owners should learn…whether we’re bundling up for a long winter or still enjoying the California sun.

If you have questions about winterizing your vessel, call us at (805)-965-4538 or email Our experienced staff can help guide you through the process so you can enjoy your boat for many Springs to come.

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