How to Store a Boat for the Winter

There are a variety of options for boat storage during the winter months: in the water, dry storage facilities, storing in a driveway or storing at a self storage facility. It is important to investigate the different options and what type of winter boat storage is best for you. Consult the boat’s owner manual for any specific storage instructions. Most people end up storing their boats in their drive-ways, but self storage is a great option to keep your boat safe during the winter months.

More Tips

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How to Winterize a Boat in 10 Easy Steps

When you are storing your boat for the winter, there are precautions that you need to take to make sure your boat it will be in good working order. Then, in the spring, you can de-winterize your boat and be ready to put it back in the water.

Winter Boat Storage Tips

  1. Check Your Boat for any Issues
    Before you place the boat in storage, take it out for one last ride to listen for any engine issues and to see if any repairs will be needed over the winter.
  2. Tend to the Gasoline
    As part of your boat winterization process, fill the gas tank completely and add a fuel stabilizer. After you add the stabilizer, run the flusher with the new fuel stabilizer for at least ten minutes for it to run through the tank. If you will be storing your boat in a storage unit, it is important to never store a vehicle that contains gasoline. Before storing your boat, siphon out any remaining gasoline left in the tank.
  3. Check the Engine and Filters
    Check the engine oil and replace the filters. Check hoses, belts and clamps. Check the steering cables and lines. Drain and completely flush the gear case and refill with new lubricant.
  4. Add New Antifreeze Before Storage
    Flush the coolant system completely and add new antifreeze. Check the owner’s manual for instructions on choosing the correct antifreeze for your boat as this will vary with boat type.
  5. Fog the Carburetor and Cylinders
    Remove and replace the spark plugs. Apply fogging oil to the carburetor and the cylinders before placing in storage. When you run the engine again in the spring, there will be smoke from using the fogging oil. This will only happen for the first few times that the engine is turned on.
  6. Clean the Outside and Inside of the Boat
    Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the boat from top to bottom. Scrape off any barnacles that might have attached to the hull. Wash down the decks with a pressure washer. Use a vinyl cleaner to clean the vinyl surfaces on the boat.
  7. Remove the Battery and Spray it with an Anti-Corrosion Spray
    If you are storing the boat long term, remove the battery from the boat and clean it. Spray the battery with anti-corrosion spray and put the battery in a dry warm safe place.
  8. Remove all Valuable or Flammable Items
    Remove all electronics, flares and fire extinguishers from the boat while it is in storage. In addition to electronics, remove pots, pans, dishes, linens and draperies and clean them. Repair and replace any damaged items.
  9. Cover the Boat for Storage
    Place a canvas over the motor, then, cover the entire boat with a polytarp or polyvinyl cover that is made to specifically fit the boat. This will help protect the inside of the boat from the elements.
  10. Elevate the Tires of the Boat During Storage
    Store the boat on a trailer and if possible, put the trailer on blocks or pieces of wood to protect the tires of the trailer from damage during the winter months.