How To Winterize Your Houseboat Engines

Owning a houseboat is a great responsibility. Although it is quite fun to hang out carefree on your own houseboat it certainly comes with a few limitations. These require a lot of care and attention so that your houseboat doesn’t end up damaged. The tiniest of details matter a lot too as being careless may cause great damage to your boat long term.  

It is always a good idea to take the proper precautions beforehand instead of regretting it later when the damage has already been done. One such problem that occurs is due to not winterizing the houseboat engines. To learn all about it, make sure to read till the end of this article. 

Why is it important to winterize your engines?

It is important to know all about winterizing to help protect your houseboat from any kind of damage during the off season. Most of the boat owners will winterize their boat motors before the winter season because of the extreme cold. An easy way to think about it is that it is preparing your boat for hibernation.

While winterizing your houseboat’s engines may be a little difficult it is something that every boat owner should do when they don’t plan on using their boat for a while. Without winterizing your engines they will be much harder to start in the spring and will often require repairs or maintenance that wouldn’t have been required if you winterized them properly. 

You can often get professional help to learn how to do it the first time or talking with someone in your marina to get some assistance will also work. 

It is important to take care of your entire houseboat and not just the engine if you live in an area where winters are extreme. Your houseboat may go through the following damages if you don’t take the necessary steps prior to winter setting in. 

  • The place you are storing your boat at must be strong to be able to handle the weight of your houseboat. You will want to make sure that you have the best possible jacks or supports as substandard supports could cause your houseboat to fall off over time. Bad supports may lead to the boat slipping off and hence resulting in damage.
  • Ice, snow and rain may damage the roof and other parts by accumulating the top of it. So do make sure to cover your boat properly. Also, you should make a proper frame for it as the accumulation of snow on top of the deck or flat roof may cause a lot of weight on the boat and it may warp or break entirely.
  • Boats are prone to rust for obvious reasons so before you leave your boat, do make sure that you check all the areas properly for any unnecessary water accumulation. If some water is there, take the time to add some drain holes to avoid damage over the off season.
  • Be wary of tips given to you by someone who has never owned a boat before. If this is the first time that you are winterizing your houseboat and engines paying for professional help and watching what they do and how they do it is a wise investment.  If you are unable to hire a professional or you think that you know what you are doing be sure and do tons of research as missing out on even the slightest of details can cause big issues come the spring.
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Every year cases of damage in engines and houseboats are reported. Some of these are caused by just the simplest mistakes which could have been avoided easily if the owners knew what to do and did it. 

How to winterize your houseboat engines

All the parts of your houseboat will be affected by the extreme cold as the water may freeze in some areas and cause damage. It can even lead to the formation of many cracks in unwanted areas. To know how to do winterization properly, go through the following steps:

  • It is important to fog your engine before storing it. You can do this by spraying fogging oil into the carburetor before your motor completely runs out of fuel.
  • When oil is present in the engine for a long time, it can cause corrosion or even formation of some acids in the engine which can damage the engine to a great extent. To avoid this, it is recommended to go for mineral-based oil in which chances of damaging the engine are much less.
  • Remove the fuel from lines and fuel tank. You can leave the fuel in the tank (if you choose) but most of the time it is easier to run the boat out of fuel entirely rather than having to drain the lines by hand.
  • Fuel stabilizers can also be used (if you don’t want to drain the tank) as they prevent the formation of any kind issues in the engine that would arise from using old fuel in the spring. It can even help in preventing the condensation that may occur due to the residual oil left in the engine or the boat.
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These are just a few of the things that you should do to winterize your houseboat motors. As mentioned earlier it is quite an involved process and the steps needed depend on the type of motor you have as well as your exact model.

Steps for winterizing your houseboat

There are a few steps that can be followed to get your houseboat in the same condition as it was as you left it before the winters.

  • You should add air conditioners and put antifreeze into your various systems in the houseboat to prevent the freezing of water inside your houseboat. These are easily available on the market and you can even buy them online.
  • You can protect the pipelines and the fresh water tank by using antifreeze in them too. Do make sure to use it in an ample amount as it will keep you from having to replace pipes come springtime.

  • Low-temperature heaters can also be added. Although these can lead to burns or damage to the boat if not installed properly, you can consult an expert in such a case.
  • Taking care of all these can help in maintaining the perfect temperature in your houseboat. These will also help in keeping the boat dry and prevent any risk of damage over the winter and  your houseboat will be ready to go in the spring.


All in all, a houseboat is a great place to hang out but you must take care of it. Winterizing all of the parts of the boat is a quite important thing to do as it can protect your houseboat from all kinds of damage. Although it may take some money to do it is worth all of it. 

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You can often find a local expert online easily and they will help you out in doing everything in the best possible manner. If you store your houseboat in a marina then the marina manager will probably be able to recommend one as well. 

Hiring someone might be expensive the first time but if you take notes and pay attention to what they do and how they do it you can then do it yourself next year! 

Matthew Robbs

I love the outdoors and especially spending time with my family. Whether on a boat or at the beach, my happy place is near the water.

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