Winter Boat Questions

This will be the first winter with my new boat and I have a couple of questions.

  1. Do I have to do anything special when storing the boat, especially when it is below freezing? I don’t want to winterize my boat because I fish a lot during the winter. My previous boat was 17’ and I was able to store it in the garage, so freezing temps were not a concern
  2. How do you launch your boat by yourself in the winter without getting wet? My 17’ bay was light enough that I could back the trailer down just enough that I could walk behind the car, walk on the trailer tongue, and just push it off. There is no way I can do that with this boat. I have to sink the trailer so deep that there is no way to walk behind the car without getting wet. I have a Tahoe, so I guess I could lift the rear hatch and crawl through the back. Surely there is a better way to do it though! Thanks for any and all help!

Give me a call if you are looking to buy or sell a home. Always like helping out a fellow fisherman!

good pair of rubber boots

What ramp are you using? If you don’t have a current to worry about try laying a rope out on the bow and tie off to the trailer post. Let the boat float off and pull trailer up enough to get to the rope. If there is a floating dock back in as close as you can to it. This will allow you to be able to get ahold of bow and stern lines and walk it away from trailer.

1720 KW 110 Johnson
16’ Bonito 65 Johnson

Your link isn’t working!

  1. Lower your outboard down so the lower unit can drain any water. Rain water is the enemy. It will pool and freeze, and when it does it will destroy the lower unit.

  2. I always back my boat down leaving the winch still hooked up. Back down far enough until the boat starts to float, then I can climb from the bed of my truck onto the trailer and into the boat. With something like a Tahoe, you’re going to have to buy you some rubber boots or climb through the back window.

'06 Mckee Craft
184 Marathon
DF140 Suzuki

I regularly put my Triton 2300 TE twin engine center console
(25’ & 6000lbs) in by myself and never get my feet wet.
Here is what I do.
In my case I put in at Remleys in Mt P. I have two 15’ extra
lines that I use as extensions to my bow and stern lines. So
with the extensions added to the lines they are 30’. At Remleys I
use the right most lane at mid to high tide and use the left most
Lane at low tide, this gets the boat next to the floating dock while it
still on the trailer. I back the boat down the ramp so the boat is not
floating and the tongue/bow of the boat is still on dry ramp. At this
point I get out of the truck (parking brake on) and tie off the stern line
as far down the dock as the line will reach and tie the bow line off
as far down the dock the line will reach. With both lines tied off, I remove
The safety chain and remove the wrench strap. I get back in the truck
and back the boat further into the water so it floats and tap the brakes
To bump it off the trailer. Then I pull the truck a few feet up the ramp and
get out and pull the boat to the dock and tie it off. Works every time , I
have also done this at Shem Creek and Wild dunes ramps

As far as winter storage, as someone else said make sure the motors
are trimmed down so they drain, other things to check, if you have
a fresh water system you will want to drain it and the lines,
and if you have a raw water wash down and / or live wells
You will want to leave the sea cocks open, if you close them
while the boat is in the water you trap water in the lines and pumps
between the sea cocks and the live wells.


2300TE Triton (RealTime)
1720 KeyWest 90 Johnson

Thanks for the help! I usually launch at our neighborhood boat ramp in Brickyard, but sometimes we head out of IOP. I can’t believe I never thought of rubber boots! I am going to get some asap. I also like the idea of putting a bow rope on and attaching it to the trailer. Those sound a lot better than climbing through my Tahoe! I always store the boat with the motor down, so I should be good to go. Thanks again for the help and have a great day.

Give me a call if you are looking to buy or sell a home. Always like helping out a fellow fisherman!

I do similar to launch by myself in the winter. It all depends on whether the ramp has a floating dock by the ramp or not. If so, I let out about 4 feet of winch strap and lock the winch back so the boat can’t slide off the trailer. I back down very close to the floating dock until the stern floats then get out of the truck and simply step off the dock onto the boat, lower and start motor, walk to the bow and reach down and unhook the winch strap. Back the boat off, tie off to dock out of the way of the ramp and go back to the truck.
If no floating dock I either use the boots or tie a bow line to the winch stand and when the boat starts to float, drop back just a little, tap the brakes and pop the boat off. Retrieve the boat with the rope and lead it to the dock or somewhere out of the way with the line and tie off.

I plan on living forever, so far so good

Egret 167, Etec 130
Wooden Driftboat
Jon Boat & 2 Canoes

I haven’t used a ramp without a dock in years. I back close enough to get in and out of the boat on the dock. I simply walk down the trailer tongue to access the winch.

I like launching solo rather than having someone ‘help’. I find the operation goes smoother when handling it myself.

Keeping the boat outside during the winter I just lower the motor like Tigerfin to drain the foot and keep it from freezing.

During the winter when I launch by myself I try to get close enough to the dock to step into the boat after it floats or use a bow line like Carolina coot to dump it. To take out I try to get close enough to the dock to step out or use a pair of hip boots to step down and wade out if I can’t.

Also, I use the spare tire I have mounted to the winch stand to step up/down from the boat deck to the trailer tongue.


All this talk about launching and I totally forgot about loading! A new pair of rubber boots are on the way. Wish our ramp was closer to the floating dock, but there is no way to step on or off the dock to the boat.

Give me a call if you are looking to buy or sell a home. Always like helping out a fellow fisherman!

Looks lie you need a fishing partner. I’ll come drive either one for you lol. I have seen people leave enough rope for the boat to float while staying on the end of trailer so they can pull up some and then walk the trailer to the boat and back it off.

1720 KW 110 Johnson
16’ Bonito 65 Johnson