Consumer tips
Boat insurance
​Boat maintenance - seasonal tips
Man cleaning boat  

Most boating in the Northwest takes place during the summer months. But a boat needs care and attention throughout the year. Here are some tips you can use in the off-season to ensure you get the most out of your summertime boating fun.


After the season ends, you’ll need to prepare your boat for the harsh winter months ahead.

  • Store your boat out of water and under cover

    ...if possible.
  • Change all fluids, and watch for metal shavings

    If you have an outdrive, look for discolored outdrive fluids. If you find either, take your boat to a repair shop for analysis right away.

  • Drain everything:

    Freshwater pump, block, manifolds, tanks, hoses, etc. On yachts, drain the hot water heater, oil cooler, heat exchanges, and the head. Close seacocks and clean the bilge.
  • Flush the engine and disconnect the battery

  • Don’t seal cabins so they’re airtight

    – that invites mold and mildew. Instead, crack the door or window slightly so air can circulate.
  • Replace zinc anodes as necessary

  • Remove and store electronic gear

  • Lube and pack your trailer’s wheel bearings

    ...and check the tires for air.
  • On sailboats, you’re better off to remove and store the sails

    Make sure rigging isn’t too tight on wooden masts, which can warp. Spray turnbuckles with a light lubricant, such as WD-40.
  • Attach extra lines secure your boat during winter storms.


With warmer days ahead, make sure your boat is ready to go when you are. Now’s a good time to check your boat and engine service manual for specifics. If you’re uncertain what to do, get professional assistance.

  • Check the general condition of the hull

    ...and apply a coat of wax. If the boat is moored year-round, recoat the bottom paint if necessary.
  • Lubricate steering and shift linkage

  • Tune the engine

    – change oil and filters.
  • Check the coolant level freshwater-cooled motors and test for proper mixture.
  • Flush the potable water system

  • Check all ignition and secondary wiring for wear

  • Check all safety equipment and life vests

  • Ensure all electronic equipment is operating properly

  • Check mooring lines

If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector on your boat, get one – especially if your boat has an enclosed cabin. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks. CO, a byproduct of incomplete fuel combustion, is one of the most common causes of fatal poisoning.

With just a little preventive care, your boat can weather the seasons and provide you and your family with months of enjoyment.