ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Cold, snowy weather has us all dreaming of summer. More specifically, getting the family schooner out of storage and heading toward the lake.

But how soon is too soon to DE-winterize your boat?

According to Boat Planet, if you dewinterize early, you risk exposing your boat engine to serious damage.

The best time to dewinterize your boat is after the last winter freeze. You’ll likely have to consult a local forecast.

The worst thing for your boat is a hard freeze, which occurs when water temperature dips below 32 degrees. If you do dewinterize too early, you may be able to use an engine compartment heater to keep the mechanical parts warm enough to prevent damage.

Boat Planet says some boat owners put a small cup of water in the cockpit or the boat’s trailer. If the water doesn’t freeze, the logic is that the engine block is good. If it does freeze, then they drain the block before any damage occurs to the motor.

That’s not to say you can’t enjoy boating in cooler temperatures…you just have to be careful.

And, remember, Fido likes boating as well!