What is the process for boats becoming "winterized"? Do all boats need to become winterized and is this a one-time process?
Winterizing a boat. The issues are 2 fold at a minimum. 1 freeze protection. 2 element protection.
Freeze protection - two basic areas engine and water tanks. Water tanks hoses, and fixtures can be protected two ways, evacuation of all water or mixing the existing water with polypropylene glycol or vodka. ONLY. It is EPA FDA safe...anything else is poisonous. Clear the bilge of water with a wet/dry shop vac. or add vodka.
Engine. Clear water cooling apparatus from stem to stern of water or mix with polypropylene glycol or vodka only. Remove all water pump covers and let lines air breath if possible Automotive ethylene and di ethylene glycol is ILLEGAL. Antifreeze is ILLEGAL as it will be pushed into the water on startup in the spring and subjecting the operator AND owner to a $500,000.00US fine. Clearing water from fuel/water separators and adding fuel stabilizers is recommended. Change the oil in the spring. Using an unattended heater is NOT recommended to keep components from freezing. FIRES are very common with this approach.
Element protection - depends on if you are hauling out the boat or leaving it at dock in the water. If hauling out then protecting the decks and scuppers from ice and snow fall as well as freezing drains in the cockpit or like areas is important. Some shrinkwrap the entire boat. A waste of money and material. if you keep the boat in the water you have to check on the boat periodically, and if there is potential for freezing a hull heater or an air bubbler or ice prop, to keep the ice from forming at the waterline and crushing the hull is necessary.
Removing things like sails and lines is a good idea to protect from ice and freeze shredding. Do not use home depot tarps as the wind will shred them.