Water expands in volume by about nine percent when it freezes, creating a staggering force that can crack a boat engine block, damage fiberglass, split hoses, or destroy a boat’s refrigeration system overnight. As fall approaches, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recently dug deep into its insurance claims files unearthing a trove of winterizing-related boat insurance claims and found that more than three-quarters involved cracks in the engine block or the exhaust manifolds. Now, the national boating services, safety and advocacy group is making available at no-cost the 15-page “Boater’s Guide to Winterizing” that can make the task easier for any type of boat.
“These claims come from all over the country, not just from the states that get snow every year, and give us a very real picture of what goes wrong and what we can do to prevent this damage,” said BoatUS Director of Technical Services Beth Leonard. “Boaters up North know they need to winterize, so their freeze claims almost always involve poor winterizing. In the temperate South, the issue can be a case of no winterizing, or relying on a heater when the electricity goes off, usually when you need it most.”
The downloadable brochure addresses the reasons for more than 95 percent of the freeze claims handled by the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program in the past decade. Included are chapters on: Storing your boat – The options and the tradeoffs; a Winterizing Checklist to use as the starting point for creating your own boat’s winterizing list; Engines and Drives – The dos and don’ts; and Plumbing – Getting the water out, which is great for larger boats.
Additional information includes tips on choosing antifreeze, lessons learned from BoatUS Consumer Affairs about protecting yourself with a winterization contract, and green winterizing information.
The checklist is available at www.BoatUS.com/winterizingguide.
D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
Image courtesy BoatUS