Unless you are a boater lucky enough to live in a place like Florida or southern California, you probably find that your boating season is frustratingly short. After all, who wouldn’t want to squeeze in as much boating time as they can?

Each year, some boaters fight the cold weather. They can be found still cruising lakes and coastlines even after temperatures have gotten downright frosty. They tough it out because they know that cold-weather boating can be magical, and they’re rewarded with peaceful, empty waterways that they have largely to themselves. You can be one of these lucky cold-weather boaters by following a few tips.

  1. Dress in layers for cold weather. Boating attire at this time of year might call for a winter coat, hat, warm socks and gloves.
  2. Be sure to pack a change of clothes in case you get wet.
  3. Have extra blankets onboard to help you keep warm.
  4. Always wear a life jacket. If you fall overboard this time of year, the cold water can shock you even if you’re a strong swimmer.
  5. An onboard heating system can give off a surprising amount of heat. They aren’t too expensive, and more boating days makes it worth the investment.
  6. To avoid freezing your engine block, pick up an engine compartment heater.
  7. Cold weather can destabilize your gas. Use a fuel stabilizer to keep your fuel fresh.
  8. A boat’s battery becomes more prone to losing its charge in cold temperatures, so get yourself a marine battery charger.
  9. If your boat doesn’t have a protected cockpit, add a canvas enclosure to trap heat and protect you from the elements.
  10. Hot beverages hit the spot on cold boating days, whether you’re preparing them in your galley or carrying them onboard in a thermos.