How to Winterize Your Boat for Storage
Winterize Your Boat for Storage: Deep Clean
If you’re a boat owner, you know it’s a sad day when summer ends and you have to put your boat away for the winter. Hopefully this past summer you were able to make a lot of great memories. While your boat is out of the water for winter is time to take care of all the time-consuming fixes. When you pull your boat out of storage next spring you want it ready to go. Take the time now to prepare it for the next boating season and winter storage now. Take the time now to winterize your boat properly before putting it in storage.
When renting a storage unit for your boat remember all the gear you have to go with it. Where are you going to store your wakeboards, fishing gear, extra coolers and other gear you put on your boat. Learn about what some customers do in our Toy Box Blog.
Clean, Repaint, Wax
When you pull your boat out of the water for the winter it’s a great time to look over the hull and repair any damage. Start by cleaning your boat really well so that you can see any scratches that may have occurred over the summer. Once your boat is clean, seal up any scratches or larger damage spots.
Whether your boat has a cabin or not it’s a good idea to vacuum and wipe down all surfaces. Make sure to vacuum any leftover crumbs or dirt that can end up on your boat during use over the summer. You don’t want any food-related items in your storage unit to invite in, any unwanted guests.
Once done vacuuming wipe down the seatbacks and cushions to keep them lasting longer. When you are boating over the summer the seats become covered by lake spray. It is best if they are cleaned well to prevent any additional mold growth while in winter storage.
Check Mechanical and Electrical
Why wait until next spring to take care of any major issues. Give your boat a good look over when it comes out of the water. Over the summer did you notice any electrical or mechanical issues. Take the time while it’s out of the water to get those things fixed. If you fix them over the winter, then your boat can be on the water more next summer.
Clean Bilge or Live wells
Does your boat have any bilge or live well tanks? If so clean them out with soap and water to remove any smells that can build up. Then leave them open to dry out fully. Moisture is the enemy of long-term storage. Any excess water will cause mildew and potentially corrosion on your boat. Water is the enemy in winter, it expands when it freezes and causes cracking or corrode the inside of your tanks when liquid.
Winterize Your Boat for Storage: The Engine
Change the oil
Old oil can have impurities like acid and moisture that can break down engine parts while in storage. Make sure the old oil doesn’t have any shine or grit to it. This is a sign that something more may be wrong with your engine. Replace the engine oil and filter based on your engine manufacturer. The new oil will help keep your engine well lubricated during the winter to help prevent any damage to your engine.
Water is bad when storing. Draining all fluids can go a long way in preventing a larger problem in the future. Take the time to winterize your boat right before putting it in storage. Drain any water out of your engine as many engines use water to help cool them while out on the lake. Your engine manufacturer will tell you precise directions on how to flush out the old water. Replace it with clean water to get any other dirt and grime out. After, remove the drain plugs to drain the remaining water from the engine.
Stabilize and Top off Fuel
Fuel has a short shelf life. It can go bad quickly if not taken care of properly. Put in a fuel stabilizer to prevent your fuel from deteriorating. Once you have added a stabilizer add then top off your tank with additional fuel. This will help keep any water out of the tank and prevent any buildup of moisture.
Fog Your Engine
During winter storage gravity and time will dry out the engine oil leaving it at risk of becoming corroded. Use a fogging oil spray to help your engine last longer. The fogging spray is designed to coat your engine parts to prevent any corrosion that can happen over the winter.
Clean Prop and Oil
When your boat is out of the water inspect your boats prop. Make sure there are no major nicks or dents in the prop. It can be common for fishing lines and other lake debris to get caught in the prop. Remove all the debris from your boat’s prop. Any debris left can hold water that can potentially cause rust.
After your prop is fully clean, replace the gear oil. Make sure to look at the oil as it comes out to see if any water has gotten into the oil. If your oil is clumpy or milky looking that is a sign you need to replace the seal before next spring.
Engine fittings can be exposed to the elements in winter and become corroded. Your engine’s owner’s manual will tell you which fittings are most at risk. Winterizing your boat with a good coat of lubrication will help keep them from rusting while in winter storage.
Battery and Valuables
Now that you have taken care of your engine and have no need to start it again until next spring. Fully charge your battery and unplug it. If you are storing your boat outside take it with you and keep it in your home. If you have any other valuables on your boat or sensitive electronics taking them somewhere warm for the winter is a smart idea.
Cover Your Boat to Winterize it for Storage
Next put on your boat cover and move it into storage. Winters can belong, and dust can build up on your boat. Complete winterizing your boat by covering your boat while in storage will help keep it cleaner until next spring.
Even when your boat is not on the water it is best to ensure your boat. Check with your insurance agent to make sure you have the proper coverage.