Damage from freezing weather can be extensive and unless you have freeze insurance your policy probably doesn’t cover it. Georgia winters are not terrible but there are still several issues related to cold that Peach State boaters should avoid.
1. Outboard engines should be dropped and drained of water immediately after use once freezing weather arrives. Water trapped in the engine can crack your lower unit or damage your water pump.
2. You should think twice about leaving a heater running onboard as a means of keeping you engine from freezing. Heaters won’t run if the power goes out because of a storm and fires from unattended heaters on boats are a common problem.
3. If your boat is on stands because of maintenance that you’re doing, beware of shifting due to freezing rain and snow. Jack stands should be placed as far out from the boat as practical with three per side for boats over 26 feet.
4. Boats have small drain holes throughout the boat to allow water to drain properly. If they get plugged water can build and then freeze during winter and crack whatever is holding the water.
Winterizing is the best answer to most cold related boat issues. If you’re not comfortable with winterizing yourself then it’s recommended that a professional do it. Letting a buddy help you or doing it yourself and forgetting a step can spell disaster. If you choose to winterize yourself, check out the article in Discover Boating below that gives some great tips and reminders for what needs to be done.