How do you keep your boat safe and secured over the chilly winter months? Here are some expert winter boat storage tips that can help you provide the perfect environment your boat needs during this period.
Winter Boat Storage Tips
Consult your manual. Don’t do anything without reading the user’s manual or checking the manufacturer’s website first. You don’t want to do anything that can possibly void your warranty, right?
Decide where you’re going to store it. Determine where you are going to park your boat throughout the winter months. Do you have a garage large enough to fit a boat or are you simply going to park it outdoors? To provide the best protection, you should store your boat in an enclosed, climate-controlled facility.
However, if you don’t have any choice but to leave it outdoors, choose a spot with minimal sun and wind exposure, and cover it up with a high quality boat cover to protect it against the elements and other external factors that may ruin it. For best results, keep the cover clean and free of snow, water and debris at all times.
Clean it up. Remove the bilge drain plug as soon as you haul your boat out of the water. Give the topsides, haul and deck a thorough brushing, and make sure that the interiors, hardware and trims are sparkling clean. Check for any blistering in fiberglass boats and have them repaired right away. Give your boat enough time to dry before storing it for the winter. Always remember that a clean boat has a better chance of enduring the test of time, and will be easier to get ready in time for spring.
Avoid engine trouble. Top off your gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer to prevent condensation and reduce the build-up of gum and varnish over months of storage. Run your engine for about 15 minutes to make sure the additive circulates through the system. Change your engine oils and replace all filters, and flush the cooling system with fresh water to remove all traces of salt, dirt and corrosion. It is also a good idea to add anti-freeze especially if you live in extreme climate areas.
Lubricate your systems. Don’t forget to lubricate the fittings on the sterndrive gimbal bearing and engine coupler as well as those on the steering tilt tube and engine trim mechanism. You should likewise apply a moisture-displacing lubricant to all the moving metal parts onboard, trailer wheel bearings, and propeller shaft.
Do a visual inspection. Little things may eventually lead to major problems when left unattended so catch them before they cause any serious damage. Check your boat from bow to stern to make sure that everything is in order.
Remove all stuff. Remove all electronics and the rest of your gear out of the boat, and store them in a warm, dry place. Clean the battery cable ends to remove corrosion and lightly apply grease on the cables and battery terminals.
With all the work involved, you can say that doing the necessary prep work for winter boat storage requires a lot of effort but it can help ensure that your boat will be in tip-top shape when it hits the water next season.