The Benefits of Winterizing your Boat

September 23, 2022 | by admin

Winterizing your boat stops it from being damaged by freezing and prevents expensive repairs in the spring.

Talk to your Western insurance expert about purchasing boat insurance. We have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through this process.

Why do you need to winterize your boat?

Winterizing your boat means preparing it for freezing temperatures by draining all water aboard or adding antifreeze to it. When it freezes, freshwater expands by around 9% and can place a force of tens of thousands of pounds per square inch on structures in your boat. This expansion can cause serious damage like a crack in the engine block, split hoses, damage to fiberglass, and damage to your refrigeration system.

The most common freezing–related insurance claims are cracks in exhaust manifolds or engine blocks because of water freezing in the cooling system or engine.

How do you winterize a boat?

There is no universal meaning of “winterizing,” but, in general, it means the following steps are completed. When you have your boat winterized, make sure you have a written contract that lists all of the tasks to be completed and the timeframe, which should be before the first hard freeze can be expected.

  • Drain water from the engine and apply corrosion protection.
  • Add fuel stabilizing additive to the fuel system and change the engine’s fuel filters and fuel/water separators.
  • Drian freshwater plumbing and add antifreeze.
  • Drain water from all other systems.
  • Remove drain plugs.
  • Complete additional steps as outlined in the owner’s manual.
  • Cover the boat with heat-sealed polyethylene shrink wrap or a custom cover suggested by the manufacturer.
  • Store your boat in a secure, climate-controlled facility.

Your Western home insurance expert will answer any questions you may have about boat insurance and what policy is right for you.

In which provinces do you need to winterize your boat?

Almost every boat in Canada gets winterized every year. Make sure your boat is properly winterized and stored for your local climate.


Even if you live in a warmer area like the B.C. coast, you still need to winterize your boat because extensive damage can happen with just one hard freeze. You may choose to use your boat throughout the winter, but you need to take precautions. Make sure freshwater plumbing has been adjusted for winter use and to wipe away water and debris from mechanical and electrical parts each time you use your boat. Cover it and store it at a secure marina.

The Prairies and Ontario

If you live in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Ontario, you will probably not have a chance to use your boat over winter and you should fully winterize and store it in a marine storage facility.

Quebec and the Maritime Provinces

If you live in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, or P.E.I., you can choose to go boating in the winter, depending on where you live and if the water is free of ice. Many people enjoy cold weather boating activities like winter sport fishing. Take the proper precautions and store your boat in a secure place.

No matter which Canadian province you live in, remember that your boat insurance likely requires winterizing to be done by a professional.

Have a professional winterize your boat

Your boat insurance policy will only respond if your boat was professionally winterized. Otherwise, your coverage will exclude loss or damage due to freezing during the layup period. Have your boat winterized by a marina or certified marine mechanic and keep your receipts.

Western has boat insurance experts across Canada. Fill out our form in one minute. One of our insurance brokers will contact you shortly. Our experts are also available now in branch or on the phone to help you navigate the home insurance journey that will give you the right policy for your situation.

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