How to Winterize Your Stern Drive and Pressure Water System

Lenny Rudow consults with the experts to find out what you need to do to prepare your boat for winter.

25th September 2013.
By Lenny Rudow

Ooh, there’s a chill in the air and it’s time to winterize your boat. We’ve come down here to Norfolk Marine to find out how the pros do it with a stern drive. So tell me, Chris, what’s the most important thing you have to do to winterize your boat?

Chris Breeden, Service Manager, Norfolk Marine: The most important thing is going to be getting the water out of the block so it doesn’t freeze.

Lenny: And then you add antifreeze I assume.

Chris: Definitely.

Lenny: And what about the lower unit?

Chris: You want to drain the lower unit out just in case there’s any residual water in there, and get fresh oil in there so you don’t have the same issue with the freezing.

Lenny: Now I know with a four stroke you have to fog the motor. Is that still true with a stern drive?

Chris: Yes it is. You want to get the engine up to operating temperature, remove the flame arrester, and spray the fogging oil directly into the carburetor.

Lenny: Now why do you get the engine up to operating temperature first?

Chris: So you get all the moisture cooked out of the block.

Lenny: Gotcha.

So we’ve got the engine taken care of. What else do we have to worry about on a boat like this?

Chris: Well these boats have fresh water systems, and they need to be winterized also.

Lenny: How do you do that?

Chris: You want to drain all the water out of the system through the faucets and spigots. Then you want to add the biodegradable pink anti-freeze and run that until you get it out of the spigots. Then you’re done.

Lenny: So we’ve taken care of the lower unit, the engine, and the plumbing system. What’s the final piece to the winterizing puzzle?

Chris: Just covering her up for storage.

Lenny: So you make sure the gelcoat and the vinyl’s protected, right?

Chris: Exactly.

Lenny: Excellent.

Well I hate this winterizing job, because it means the fishing season’s over. But it’s one that’s gotta be done right. Thanks Chris for showing us how.


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About the author:

Lenny Rudow

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Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including Boats.com and Yachtworld.com. With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design who has won 28 BWI and OWAA writing awards.
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