The Real Cost to Winterize Your Boat on a Budget

Written by Desiree Vilar in Maintenance

The cost of winterizing your boat can quickly add up during the off-season. However, with some careful planning and budgeting, you can effectively do this without breaking the bank. In this article, we'll help you find out the real cost of winterizing your boat on a budget and give you some useful tips on how to save money while doing so.

For small boats (less than 20 feet), the estimated total cost of winterizing can range from $1,020 to $1,540. For medium boats of around 20–30 feet, the cost ranges from $1,270 to $1,770. However, for larger boats measuring over 30 feet, the total winterization fee ranges from $1,525 to $2,025.

To save money on winterizing your boat, you can try doing some of the work yourself. You can also save money on storage by finding a friend or family member with extra space. We have more tips below, so keep reading.


  • The average cost of engine winterization ranges from $100 to $300, but it depends on the type of engine and the specific services included.
  • Fuel stabilizers are necessary to prevent fuel breakdown and cost anywhere from $10 to $50, depending on the brand and size of the container.
  • A boat cover protects your boat from harsh winter weather, and its costs range from $50 to $500, depending on the size and type of cover.
  • The prices of boat storage range from $50 to $250 per month, depending on the location and amenities offered by the storage facility.
  • Changing the oil, flushing the cooling system, and removing the battery are simple tasks that you can do by yourself to save money when winterizing your boat.

Winterizing Your Boat on a Budget

Below is a breakdown of the most common line-item costs when winterizing different types and sizes of boats on a budget:

Line Item Average Cost Cost Range for Small Boats Cost Range for Medium Boats Cost Range for Large Boats
Engine oil change $100 $75 - $125 $100 - $150 $125 - $175
Fuel stabilizer $20 $15 - $25 $20 - $30 $25 - $35
Antifreeze $50 $40 - $60 $50 - $70 $60 - $80
Battery maintenance $50 $40 - $60 $50 - $70 $60 - $80
Hull cleaning $100 $75 - $125 $100 - $150 $125 - $175
Shrink wrapping $300 $250 - $350 $300 - $400 $350 - $450
Engine winterization $150 $125 - $175 $150 - $200 $175 - $225
Boat cover $100 $75 - $125 $100 - $150 $125 - $175
Storage $500 $400 - $600 $500 - $700 $600 - $800
Total cost $1,270 $1,020 - $1,540 $1,270 - $1,770 $1,525 - $2,025

Engine winterization can cost between $100 to $300

Engine winterization helps protect your engine from damage during the cold winter months. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 for this service, depending on the type of engine you have and the specific services that are included.

The process typically involves flushing the engine and draining the cooling system to remove any water or other fluids that may be present. After flushing and draining, antifreeze is added to the cooling system to help prevent freezing.

Some engines are more complex than others and may require more time and effort to winterize. Additionally, some types of antifreeze may be more expensive than others, which can also affect the cost.

Fuel stabilizers cost anywhere from $10 to $50

Fuel stabilizers are typically added to the fuel tank before storage, and the fuel is then run through the engine to ensure that the stabilizer is distributed throughout the fuel system. The cost of a fuel stabilizer can range from $10 to $50, depending on the brand and size of the container.

Fuel stabilizers work by preventing the oxidation of the fuel molecules, which is the primary cause of fuel breakdown. They also contain detergents that help to keep fuel injectors and carburetors clean and free of deposits.

Engine oil change costs around $50 to $150

Engine oil change involves replacing the old oil in the engine with fresh, clean oil. The oil in your boat's engine helps to lubricate its internal components, reducing friction and wear and helps to keep the engine running smoothly. The cost of an engine oil change can vary, but it usually ranges from $50 to $150.

Over time, the oil in your boat's engine can become contaminated with dirt, debris, and other impurities, which can reduce its ability to protect your engine properly. Changing the oil before storing your boat for the winter is a good idea because it helps to ensure that your engine is protected during the off-season.

The cost of a boat cover ranges from $50 to $500

A boat cover will protect your boat from the harsh winter weather, including snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. The cost ranges from $50 to $500, depending on the size and type of cover.

Boat covers come in different types, each with its own set of requirements:

  • Snap-on covers: These covers are custom-made to fit the specific boat model. They are designed to snap onto the boat's hull and provide complete coverage. Snap-on covers are ideal for boats that are stored on land or in a covered area.

  • Trailerable covers: These covers are designed to fit over the boat while it is being towed. They are made of heavy-duty material and have straps that secure the cover to the boat. Trailerable covers are ideal for boats that are stored outside during the winter.

  • Mooring covers: These covers are designed to be used when the boat is moored in the water. They are made of breathable material that allows air to circulate and prevent mold and mildew from forming. Mooring covers are ideal for boats that are stored in the water during the winter.

One common mistake of boat owners in boat winterization is using an old or ill-fitting cover that does not provide adequate protection. A good quality boat cover will last for several years and provide excellent protection for your boat.

Boat storage can range from $50 to $250

If you don't have space to store your boat at home, you'll need to pay for storage. The cost ranges from $50 to $250 per month.

Ideally, you may want to choose a facility that is located close to your home or boating location, as this will make it easier to transport your boat to and from the storage facility. You might also want to consider a facility that offers additional amenities, such as a boat launch or repair services.

Try to also choose a facility that has a secure perimeter, as well as 24-hour surveillance and monitoring, and on-site security personnel to provide an added level of protection for your boat.

Antifreeze costs around $50 per gallon

Antifreeze is a type of liquid that is commonly used in boats to protect the engine and other components from freezing during the winter months. The cost of antifreeze can vary depending on the type and brand, but on average, it costs around $50 per gallon.

To know more about antifreeze and why is it needed to winterize boats, you can check out this article.

Small boats generally have smaller engines and require less antifreeze to protect them from freezing. Therefore, the cost of antifreeze is generally lower for small boats, typically between $40 and $60.

Meanwhile, for large boats, the cost range for antifreeze is typically between $60 and $80 since they have much larger engines than small or medium boats and require a significant amount of antifreeze to protect them from freezing.

If you're planning to use RV antifreeze, see this article first.

Battery maintenance costs around $50 on average

Small boats typically have one or two batteries, while medium and large boats may have several batteries. The cost of battery maintenance for small boats can range from $40 to $60 and may include cleaning the battery terminals, checking the water levels, and charging the batteries.

For medium-sized boats, the cost of battery maintenance may range from $50 to $70. This may involve additional tasks such as load testing the batteries and replacing any damaged or worn-out batteries.

Large boats may have multiple batteries and require more extensive maintenance, therefore, costs can range from $60 to $80. This includes tasks such as replacing any damaged batteries, load testing all batteries, and ensuring that all batteries are properly charged and maintained.

Hull cleaning is estimated to be around $100

Hull cleaning involves removing any accumulated marine growth, such as barnacles, algae, and other organisms that attach themselves to the hull of the boat. The estimated cost of hull cleaning can range from $75 to $175, with an average cost of around $100.

There are different methods of hull cleaning, including scraping, pressure washing, and chemical treatments. The cost may be higher if there is significant marine growth or if the hull has not been cleaned in a long time.

The average cost for shrink wrapping is between $250 to $450

Shrink wrapping is a common method of winterizing boats which involves wrapping the boat in a plastic cover that is then heated to shrink and fit tightly around the boat. This creates a protective barrier that helps to prevent damage from snow, ice, and other environmental factors.

The average cost of shrink wrapping is around $300, with a range of $250 to $450. The cost for small boats typically ranges from $250 to $350, while medium boats can cost between $300 and $400. Large boats may cost between $350 and $450.

The cost of shrink-wrapping may also depend on other factors, such as the type of material used for the cover and any additional services that may be required, such as the removal of any accessories or equipment from the boat.

Tips for Winterizing Your Boat on a Budget

Perform DIY winterizing

There are several tasks you can do yourself to save money on winterizing your boat. Here are a few:

  • Change the oil: Changing the oil in your boat's engine is a simple task that you can do yourself. All you need is an oil extractor pump, a container to collect the old oil, and new oil to replace it.

  • Flush the cooling system: Flushing the cooling system is another task you can do yourself. You can use a flushing kit to flush the system with fresh water.

  • Remove the battery: Removing the battery from your boat is a simple task that you can do yourself. This will prevent the battery from freezing and potentially getting damaged during the winter.

Other Cost-Saving Strategies for Winterizing Your Boat

  • Shop around for deals
    Shop around for deals on winterizing services. You may be able to find discounts or promotions that can save you money.

  • Use alternative antifreeze
    Traditional antifreeze can be expensive. Perhaps consider using a propylene glycol-based antifreeze, which is less toxic and less expensive.

  • Properly store your boat
    Properly storing your boat can prevent damage and save you money on repairs. Store your boat in a covered area to protect it from the elements.

Marinas With Affordable Winterization Fees

Another option for affordable winterizing services is to look for marinas that offer winterization services, such as those included in the table below:

Marina Name

Estimated Winterization Fee
For boats Up to 20ft For boats within 20-30ft For boats within 30-40ft For boats over 40ft
Lakefront Marina Chicago, IL $150 $250 $350 $450
Bay Harbor Lake Marina Petoskey, MI $200 $300 $400 $500
The Marina at Southwinds Forked River, NJ $250 $350 $450 $550
Harbor East Marina Baltimore, MD $300 $400 $500 $600
The Marina at Cape Harbour Cape Coral, FL $350 $450 $550 $650
Newport Marina Jersey City, NJ $400 $500 $600 $700
The Marina at Edison Ford Fort Myers, FL $450 $550 $650 $750
The Marina at Dana Point Dana Point, CA $500 $600 $700 $800
The Marina at Keppel Bay Singapore $550 $650 $750 $850
The Marina at Christophe Harbour St. Kitts and Nevis $600 $700 $800 $900

Many marinas offer winterization services to their customers at a discounted rate. If you're already storing your boat at a marina, this can be a convenient and affordable option. Be sure to ask about any discounts or promotions they may be offering.

Did you find the answer to your specific question?
👍 0 👎 0

Leave a comment