Vinnie Kent pointed to a water intake on the lower unit the team had taken off an inboard motor. Corrosion, salt build up – a hole half the size it was supposed to feed water into. Left alone, the owner most likely would’ve had some serious issues when they took their vessel out of the boatel at Lynnhaven Marine and splashed it for some spring cruising.

This vessel likely will be OK, however, Lynnhaven shop foreman Kent and his crew were in the process of winterizing the boat and its motor. “Winterization is priority number one if you aren’t going to be using the boat all winter long,” says Kent. “I know a lot of people fish all year long around here and even they are taking a chance of a serious hard freeze in between trips.”

New technology has made the process work a lot better than the old two-stroke engine days when you pulled a plug and let the water drain out. Now, mechanics pump water out and pump back in non-toxic antifreeze. They do the same for the head (toilet) on boats that have them and make sure fresh water wash down systems are dry. “Just drawing the water out isn’t good enough because lots of stuff can grow in there during the winter,” Kent said. “Then, when you crank it up in the spring, all that stuff clogs other systems.”

Replacement power units these days can jump into the tens of thousands of dollars. Kent said that a majority of the owners who store their vessels in the boatel winterize them to one degree or another. Lynnhaven offers a variety of plans that – for inboards – range from almost $400 to around $800. They include new gaskets and greasing fittings, joints, and bearings. For outboards – only four-stroke – prices are similar.

No matter what an owner chooses to do, Kent says, there are costs to keeping the investment safe and running properly. The acronym for BOAT isn’t ‘break out another thousand’ for nothing. “It’s pretty simple really,” says Kent. “Pay for pre-maintenance and upkeep at a cheaper price or get yourself in a bad situation and pay a lot more down the road.”

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