Do I Need to Winterize My Boat in Georgia?

Since the temperature has begun to fall, many boat owners are winterizing their boats. However, you may notice many boaters claiming that they don’t need to winterize their boats. Well, in some cases, they’re right. Many anglers can continue fishing without winterizing their boat. However, if you have a boat with an inboard engine, you’ll need to take a few precautionary measures.

This may lead to many questions such as “do I need to winterize my boat?” If you’re a boat owner living in Georgia, this article will answer your question.

Why Do Boaters Winterize Their Boat?

Boaters who keep their boats in freshwater complain about damaged fiberglass, cracked engine blocks, and broken refrigeration systems. They also experience splitting waterlines and hoses. This happens because cold temperatures cause freshwater to expand by 9 percent. As a result, the frozen water can cause quite a bit of damage.

BoatUS and GEICO have offered some tips to prevent these problems. They’ve provided a true or false quiz for boaters so they can properly take care of their boat this winter.

1.      You Should Leave Your Boat’s Internal Gas Tank Full throughout Winter (True or False)

This statement is true. Previously people used to empty their boat’s tank because of the presence of ethanol in the fuel supply. When the season ends, they used to add plenty of fresh gas as soon as possible. But today, the built-in gas tanks help with preventing condensation from forming inside the tank’s walls.

If your tank is nearly full, there’s some space left for fuel expansion. This prevents water droplets from mixing with the fuel. If the two mix then phase separation occurs where water and ethanol separate from the fuel and settle on the bottom of the tank. This can damage your engine or cause it to stall.

For boats with portable gas tanks, you can easily remove and clean the tanks. If you store your boat at a marina, then you should see what their fuel storage policy is.

Keep in mind, water and fuel mixing is dangerous. Once this process occurs, no amount of fuel stabilizer will help. Therefore, you should hire a professional to remove the mixture.

2.      Prevent Freeze Damage Using Plug-in Space Heater Instead of Winterizing the Boat (True or False)

This statement is false. GEICO states that using an electric heater instead of winterization can cause catastrophic engine damage, it can even cause a fire. Even if a boater lives in a temperate state, they should protect their engine by winterizing their boat. Engine flush systems are helpful for replacing the raw engine water with antifreeze fluid.

The states that have the most insurance claims when it comes to winterizing their boat are:

  1. Texas
  2. New York
  3. New Jersey and Maryland
  4. Virginia
  5. Mississippi
  6. Georgia
  7. North Carolina
  8. Washington
  9. South Carolina

3.      There Are Many Insurance Policies That Cover Freeze and Ice Damage (True or False)

This statement is false. Boat insurance often excludes freeze and ice damage. Sometimes, boaters can request the insurance company for coverage at an added cost. If you want this add-on make sure you do so before the cold weather comes in since most insurers won’t offer it after that.