As winter sets in, precautions need to be taken to make sure your toys are taken care of.

That said, with the mild winters we’ve experienced across much of the United States and Canada the last few years, it can be heartbreaking to put your boat away permanently, only to have a 60 degree “winter” weekend when the fish are snapping. For this reason, I like to “pre-winterize” my rig just in case I get that opportunity to sneak out unexpectedly.

While you should consult your dealer, and know what is required for your specific rig, if you have an outboard motor and have a place to keep it that won’t be in a complete deep-freeze (think heated garage), then a few simple steps will help you have your boat ready at a moment’s notice.

These steps are so easy and inexpensive, it’s not a big deal to do them several times if you’re able to sneak out when it’s warm and then cold weather quickly repeats.

  1. Drain water from the hull
  2. Drain water from the outboard’s lower unit
  3. Stabilize the fuel throughout all engines
  4. Circulate RV antifreeze throughout all pumps
  5. Poor a little RV antifreeze in bilge around pumps

That’s it! Check out the video below where I demonstrate a few of these steps with my walleye rig.

Editor’s note: Capt. Ross Robertson of Bigwater Guide Service and his crew provide educational guide trips for monster walleyes and smallmouth bass. The Bigwater team fishes ice-out to ice-up on the Great Lakes, spending the majority of the year on Lake Erie’s western and central basins.


Images and video by Capt. Ross Robertson

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