Please select your home edition

How to winterize and decommission your Sailfish like a pro

by Sailfish Boats 3 Nov 2021 19:32 UTC
Winterize and decommission your sailfish like a pro © Sailfish Boats

Lots of Sailfish owners go through the process of putting their boat up for a winter's nap. Denny Warren, Sales and Transportation Manager for Sailfish Boats, knows a thing or two about decommissioning - because he has seen a thing or two over the years.

"When it comes to powering down and preparing for the next season, there are specific tasks that Sailfish owners need to follow," he notes. Outboard fishing vessels have unique needs, and Sailfish is no exception.

In addition, Denny adds some advice and a caveat: "If you don't feel confident with do-it-yourself jobs, leave the process to a professional marine boat mechanic at your local dealer."

When starting the process, Denny recommends first adding a good stabilizer to the fuel tank. "A fuel stabilizer will remove water, prevent corrosion and clean the entire system and the fuel injectors. It will protect your engine from gumming up and prevent varnish, rust, and corrosion. After adding the correct amount of fuel stabilizer to your fuel system, you will need to attach a set of earmuffs to the lower unit to supply the outboard motor with fresh water to run the motors to get the fuel stabilizer from the fuel tank and into the outboard's fuel system. I highly recommend our owners hire a marine mechanic to fog the outboard motor(s) and to check the lower units for water in the gear case. In extremely cold areas, the water intrusion in the lower units can expand enough to split them open."

After you have completed the fuel stabilizer and outboard process, you can move on to other tasks. Below is an easy checklist to follow this season:

Freshwater system and tanks

Find a supply store that sales RV winterizing water antifreeze to add to your freshwater tank. Follow the instructions on the bottle to how much to add to your water tank. Be sure to run your freshwater washdown pump long enough to push out the clean water and run it until you see the RV water antifreeze coming out of all your freshwater faucets and washdowns.

Raw water washdown system

Open all livewell drain valves; open the seacock to the position used to fill up baitwells. Locate the raw water washdown pump in the bilge. Refer to the online owner manuals for location specifics. Once located, remove the clear strainer cup to allow the raw water to backflow into the bilge area.

In-floor fish boxes

Mix SuperTech RV and Marine Antifreeze and water (follow instructions on bottle) and pour into fish box(es). Turn on the fish box pump-out switch to eliminate the solution completely overboard. This will winterize the hoses and the pump-out pump sufficiently.

Optional freshwater flushing head

Empty the holding tank at a pump-out station. Next, flush the head several times until the freshwater tank has cycled through the head and over into the holding tank (you will see the antifreeze mixture in the toilet cycle through).

Drain plug

Remove the drain plug from the hull, and place in a convenient place for use next season. Drain all water in the boat overboard. Tilt your outboard engines down as low as possible to allow the water to flow down and out using the force of gravity.


Turn all battery switches to the 'off' position. This should be done wearing safety goggles. It is best to remove the batteries and store them in a climate-controlled building with a charger that can maintain a charge while not in use. However, if is not an option, take the following steps: Disconnect all battery leads and label each with its correlating post. Clean the top of the battery terminals using a wire brush and a mixture of baking soda and water. Dry the batteries and apply some petroleum jelly to all of the battery terminal posts. Check water levels and fill up as necessary with distilled water. Batteries should be fully charged at the outset and be periodically charged throughout the winter months.

And finally...

Make sure your boat has been washed, dried, waxed and polished, including all hardware. Remove all loose items, like PFDs and vests, towels and fishing gear, etc. This will prevent items from getting mildewed and ruined over the winter. It will also reduce the chance of animal intrusion and nest building. To take it a step further, place mothballs throughout the boat and into its compartments to help protect against infestation. Have a long winter's nap!

Tour the Sailfish Factory

Related Articles

Go behind the scenes at Sailfis
Built fishing focused, and family friendly Go behind the scenes with Florida Sportsman to see what DNA is built into every Sailfish boat. Posted on 29 Sep
Sailfish Boats loaded with fishing features
Every detail ensures your adventure is both productive and worry-free Sailfish Boats are crafted by anglers, for anglers. Every fish boat model is designed from the start for trouble- free operation, with everything you need for a productive day. Posted on 30 Aug
Exploring popular vacation spots with Sailfish
Discover how VDS Hull Technology enhances boating experiences Sailfish Boats VDS hulls use a unique, versatile technology that is well-suited for a range of popular vacation spots throughout the United States. Posted on 28 Jun
Get out and stay out
Sailfish can take you to some of the best vacation spots with ease Sailfish Boats VDS hulls use a unique, versatile technology that is well-suited for a range of popular vacation spots throughout the United States. Posted on 3 Jun
Boating through generations: Continuing the legacy
Dale Reis has been boating as long as she can remember Dale Reis, a lifelong boat enthusiast and recent Sailfish convert, has been boating as long as she can remember. She was brought up in the waterways of coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island by parents who were passionate boaters. Posted on 31 May
Sailfish 226 Dual Console
Experience the thrill of boating Sailfish has announced the launch of its new 226 Dual Console model, designed to cater to the growing demand for "fish boats" that double as runabouts and SUVs on the water. Posted on 27 Apr
Moving from a 245 to a 276 Dual Console
Jason Russo knew when it was the right time to move Off time only means one thing to New York-based lawyer Jason Russo - taking the family out on his Sailfish. As a loyal owner of two Sailfish models, he's sold on everything the Sailfish dual consoles have to offer. Posted on 30 Mar
Sailfish Boats welcomes 226 DC to product line-up
Dual Console model has everything you need and more in a 22-foot package As "fish boats" continue to replace traditional runabouts as boat "SUVs" on the water, Sailfish Boats advances this trend with the introduction of the new 226 Dual Console (DC). Posted on 4 Mar
Discover the Sailfish 316 Dual Console
A high-performing boat for family cruising and fishing The Sailfish 316DC offers a perfect balance of comfort, style, and performance. It features an impressive layout that is ideal for both family cruising and fishing trips, and is a versatile vessel that can meet the needs of a wide range of boaters. Posted on 3 Mar
Sailfish 312 Center Console in action
Offering an incredible VDS Hull design for fuel efficiency and comfort This serious, determined center console is designed for offshore anglers who demand the best. Posted on 3 Feb