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Published on November 14th, 2018 | by Guest Contributor


5 Tips for Winterizing Your Boat the Green Way

Sadly, boating season is over in most parts of the country. This means it’s time to winterize your boat and prepare it for the long, cold winter. But just because boating season is over doesn’t mean your responsibilities are. In order to be a green, eco-friendly boater, you need to make smart, sustainable choices with how you winterize your watercraft.

5 Tips for Green Winterization of Boats

Nobody enjoys winterizing a boat. Not only does it indicate the end of the fun boating season, but it also takes a lot of time and effort to do properly. But don’t let the demands of doing it right lead to shortcuts. Here are some simple, yet practical ways you can properly winterize your boat without wreaking havoc on the environment.

Empty Sewage Properly

If your boat has a sewage holding tank, it needs to be emptied before winter storage. Hopefully your boatyard or marina has a pump-out facility on site. If you don’t have access to one, you can run a quick online search for pump-out facilities nearby. If you’re located on the coast or near a major body of water, you should have a few options within a short drive. No matter what, don’t pump it into the water or leave it.

Prep Your Engine

Your engine is the most expensive and sophisticated system within your boat. If you want to take care of your boat and prevent premature engine damage, you should use the right processes when preparing your engine for winterization.

“While the engine is running, apply lubricating oil to the engine cylinders and pistons,” Wholesale Marine advises. “This is called ‘fogging’ and can be sprayed on carburetors, air intakes or through the fuel line. Be sure to change your engine oil after you’ve fogged the engine. Lastly, pour biodegradable antifreeze through the cooling system to flush any water and to protect engine parts.”

Be Smart With Shrink-Wrap

If you’ll be shrink-wrapping your boat this fall, be proactive and think ahead in regards to how the shrink-wrap will be handled once removed in the spring.

“Ask your marina or club to set up a recycling program now to recycle the scrap leftover from covering boats,” Soundings suggests. “Shrink-wrap should also be separated from other trash. Putting it in a dumpster that is open to other refuse makes it unusable to recyclers.”

You can do yourself a favor now by avoiding the use of excess ropes, zippers, tie-downs, tape, and other material that will make it difficult to recycle your shrink-wrap in the spring.

Be Careful With Fluids

When you winterize your boat’s motor, you’ll create quarts of waste oils. Be thorough with your collection of these fluids and inquire about your local marina or gas station’s oil recycling programs to determine the best method of disposal.

While it may seem innocent enough to you, placing containers of old fluids on the ground near a collection tank can actually put a marina at risk of being fined (since they can easily spill). Think ahead and ask for specific instructions when in doubt.

Be Strategic With Where You Wash

You’ll probably want to wash your boat before winterizing it. If you are using a pressure-washer, ask your marina for advice on the best place to clean your boat. Many boatyards have “washpads” that are designed to help you clean your boat without leaching dangerous contaminants into the water. You should also use eco-friendly soaps and cleaning products.

As Sailors for the Sea explains, “Manufacturers of chemical products are not required to list ingredients on their containers or make them public, so it’s important to take the time to do your research before you purchase a cleaning product. Labels on cleaners can be confusing and words like ‘natural,’ ‘non-toxic,’ ‘organic’ or ‘biodegradable’ are misleading because there is no regulation of the words’ use.”

Adding it All Up

There are many different aspects involved in green boating. While you certainly need to think about how you’re using your boat during the spring and summer months, you also have to be smart about how you winterize. By making intelligent and sustainable decisions, you can promote a healthier marine ecosystem and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re doing your part to protect the environment.

This post was sponsored by Wholesale Marine.

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