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Unlike this vessel, boats that are properly winterized are most likely to enter next year’s boating season without damage and ready to hit water (credit: Jack Hornor).

No-Cost “Boater’s Guide To Winterizing” Offered by BoatUS

Water expands in volume by about nine percent when it freezes, creating a staggering force that can crack a boat engine block, damage fiberglass, split hoses, or destroy a boat’s refrigeration system overnight. As cold weather approaches, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) dug into its claims data and found that more than three-quarters of winter-related claims involved cracks in the engine block or the exhaust manifolds. Now, the national boating services, safety and advocacy group has available at no-cost a 15-page “Boater's Guide to Winterizing” that can ensure boaters don’t miss a step for any type of boat.

“Boaters up North know they need to winterize, so their freeze claims almost always involve poor winterizing,” said BoatUS Director of Technical Services Beth Leonard. “In the temperate South, the issue can be a case of no winterizing, or relying on a heater when the electricity goes off, usually when you need it most.”

The downloadable brochure addresses the reasons for more than 95 percent of the freeze claims handled by the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program in the past decade. Included are chapters on: Storing your boat - The options and the tradeoffs; a Winterizing Checklist to use as the starting point for creating your own boat’s winterizing list; Engines and Drives - The dos and don’ts; and Plumbing - Getting the water out, which is great for larger boats.

Additional information includes tips on choosing antifreeze, lessons learned from BoatUS Consumer Affairs about protecting yourself with a winterization contract, and green winterizing information.

The checklist is available at


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