Time to Store Your Boat

Colder weather will be arriving before you know it! Now is the time to start thinking about placing your boat into storage for the winter. There are different options for boat storage: in the water, dry storage facilities, store in a driveway or storing at a self storage facility. It is important to investigate the different options and which storage option is best for you. Also, consult the boat’s owner manual for any specific storage instructions. Before you take the boat out of the water and into storage, it is a good idea to take the boat for one last ride to listen for any engine malfunctions and to check to see if repairs will be needed on the boat during the off-season. 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. When you are storing your boat for the winter, there are certain precautions to make on your boat to make sure that your boat will be in good working order and ready to be put back in the water next spring.

  1. 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 a minute for it to run through the tank.
  2. 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.
  3. Flush the coolant system and add new antifreeze. Check with the owner’s manual for instructions on choosing the correct antifreeze for your boat as this will vary with the style of boat.
  4. 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 the 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 run.
  5. Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the boat. Scrape off any barnacles that might have attached to the hull. Pressure wash the hull and the deck.
  6. 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.
  7. Remove all electronics, flares and fire extinguishers from the boat while it is in storage.
  8. Remove all pots, pans, dishes, linens and draperies from the boat and clean them. Repair and replace any damaged items. Use a vinyl cleaner on vinyl in the boat.
  9. Keep the interior doors and lockers open during storage, so air can circulate.
  10. Cover the boat in a polytarp or polyvinyl cover that is made to specifically fit the boat. Place a separate canvas over the motor. Do not cover the motor with a plastic cover as this could create moisture build-up and damage the motor during the time in 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.