After all of the horror stories that people tell of mechanics ripping them off and charging them an arm and a leg for certain services, it can be hard to accept the fact that a boat needs to be winterized yearly. Although the price of this can be hard to swallow, it is much cheaper, in the long run, to have a professional winterize your boat yearly rather than having a major blow-out in the future.
Having a mechanic winterize your boat on average costs anywhere from $100 – $600 depending on the mechanic, the boat, and the shape the boat is in. Bass boats can usually get away with being winterized for a price closer to the lower end of that range.
Let’s dive into this and break down some of these different costs. While it can be spendy to have a boat winterized, it doesn’t always have to be if you know how to find the good deals and good mechanics. And while the price may hurt a bit now, it will save you from major financial hurt in the end.
There are several different options for winterizing your boat. Each one has different benefits and drawbacks depending on who you are, where you live, what boat you have, and what your budget is like.
- Mariana winterizes your boat
- Mechanic winterizes your boat
- Boat shop winterizes your boat
- You winterize your boat
But, for the purpose of this article, we’re talking about a mechanic winterizing a boat, which is often one of the cheapest most efficient ways to have a boat winterized according to Better Boat.
Many dealerships charge a flat service rate for the winterization service while a mobile mechanic will usually charge hourly (plus material and travel) which usually comes up to less than the dealers.
Lakeview Marine has an application that customers can fill out in order to apply for boat storage and winterizing price list (as of 2014/2015). While these exact prices may not be what you’ll end up spending, looking at them can help us to get a better idea of what these things cost on average.
The application has three different sections to fill out, one for storage, one for shrink wrap and one for winterizing. As for winterizing, Lakeview Marine offers a Bronze package, a Silver package and the all in one special. The all in one special is for boats up to 19 ft, and it costs $699. This special includes several things including pick up for the specified area, silver package, shrink-wrapping with wood frame, and provides outdoor storage until May. This is a great deal. For boats from 19 ft to 24 ft, it costs $799.
Breaking the winterizing down, this is what is included:
- gas generator
- fresh water
- ice maker
- 1st AC unit
- 2nd AC unit
Prices From the Source; The Boaters
On one boaters forum, The Hull Truth, there was a quite interesting debate going on about how much it should cost to have a boat winterized. The original member who started the discussion said the following.
“My boat mechanic just traveled up today and winterized my boat. The final bill was $660 ($560 for the winterizing, $100 cost of travel). I’m totally fine with the travel cost. But did I get hosed on winterization costs?”BoatBrian230
Many thought that this was a fine price to pay, while others wanted more information so they could provide a more detailed answer. Overall it became very clear that pricing depends a lot on things such as region and location. People were all over the map with their answers. One person responded to this saying the following.
“$660 with travel?
If it was a 14-foot aluminum boat with an 8 horse outboard you got hosed. If it was a 36 foot sportfish, you got a great deal.Local Motion
Another member of the forum, a member in the Admirals Club nonetheless, responded giving the original post author an example of what they paid in their experience. He said the following.
“We here in the northeast pay about 250 per engine plus parts. Water systems are about another 200 or so, storage for the winter 1000 and shrink wrap is about 16 dollars a foot, another 500.”SnowDevil
As one can tell, there are so many different things that affect what you’re going to pay for a mechanic to winterize your boat.
On a forum on iBoats, JustJason commented saying that he usually charges between $250 and $350 for parts and labor. So around that much just for the winterizing. This price doesn’t include storage for the winter or shrinkwrapping the boat.
Things that Affect Pricing
There are several things that affect the price of winterizing a boat such as the type of boat you have, who you choose to winterize it and what region of the world you’re located in.
The size and type of boat dictate what is done in the winterizing process. The price will also depend on if you want a mechanic, marina, boat shop to do it, or if you want to do it yourself.
The biggest thing that affects the price is your region though. The region dictates what needs to be done to the boat, who is available to do what needs to be done, and how intensive the process needs to be. In some warmer places such as California or Florida, people use their boats all year. Winterizing doesn’t even need to be done because they just don’t experience the winter. These things are all things to take in mind before winterizing a boat.
If there were enough water where I’m from to have a boat, it would probably end up being in storage 9 months of the year anyway. If it was winterized it would defintely be damaged. These things need to be taken into account so that you can get the most out of your boat and your buck.
What Winterizing Involves
Again, in JustJason’s post on the iBoats forum, he lists out what he usually does to winterize a boat.
“Just to give you an idea of what I do… engine oil and filter change, drive oil change, stabilize fuel, fog, anti-corrosion spray exterior, grease all fittings, fill with antifreeze (if wanted), pull prop, grease prop shaft, pull drive, grease & inspect, align and re-install, [and] loosen belt tension. The average boat takes me 3-5 hours to do.”
Winterizing a boat doesn’t always mean the full through and through though. It involves different things depending on what region you live in. One fisher in Florida on the Hull Truth joked that winterizing for them means that they “put a jacket on when they go fishing.”
There were members that stated that for them, winterizing was simply throwing a lightbulb in the bilge. Others stated that fluids need to be changed, blocks need to be drained and fuel should be stabilized. Each member had a different idea of what winterizing is. And none of them are wrong. For each of their boats and locations, I’m sure that what each of them said is what winterizing is to them.
For your individual location and type of boat, some research will be necessary to find the right price for you. But hopefully this article has helped to give you an idea of what winterizing by a mechanic should cost and you avoid getting ripped off.