How to Prepare Your Boat for Winter Storage

prepare-boat-for-winter-storageMany people enjoy spending time out on a boat during the summer. Now that winter is almost here, you should prepare your boat for storage. There are some important steps you should take before you put your boat in a shelter for the winter so that it will be protected from problems in the spring.

Clean Your Boat

Your boat will hold up better in storage if you give it a thorough cleaning first. Wash your entire boat and put a coat of wax on the topsides. Repair any blistering and clean and put away any canvas.

Remove any items that are not part of the boat, such as life jackets, dock lines, fire extinguishers, and other gear. Store them indoors for the winter.

Remove standing water, dirt, and oil from the bilges, lockers, drawers, and storage areas. Remove any objects, clean the areas, and place commercial moisture absorbers inside. Clean the cushions and prop them up to allow air to circulate.

Prepare Mechanical Systems for Winter

If you have an inbound or stern drive boat with a raw water cooling system, flush the engine with freshwater. If you live in a region with very cold winters, run antifreeze into the cooling system. Flush an outboard motor with freshwater and drain all water from the engine.

Top off the fuel tank to avoid condensation. Change the fuel filter and add a marine fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel and fuel system clean while your boat is in storage. Then run the engine for a few minutes to circulate the stabilizer.

Use a product designed to remove gum, varnish, and carbon deposits from the engine. Use storage oil to protect the engine from rust and corrosion.

Change the engine oil and oil filter if you have a stern drive, inboard engine, or four-stroke outboard. Do this after warming the engine slightly. Then drain and refill the outdrive gear case or outboard lower unit.

Check Other Parts of the Boat

Lubricate moving metal parts throughout the boat. Check the wheel bearings for wear and water intrusion. Check the propeller for fishing line and shaft seal damage.

Check the mechanical steering and controls for damage. Check fluid levels, fuses, wiring connections, hose clamps, and other critical parts of the boat.

Where to Store Your Boat for the Winter

You should store your boat inside an enclosed structure for the winter. If you don’t have a garage, you can buy a portable garage to store your boat for the winter. Portable Garage Depot offers a selection of storage buildings in a variety of sizes that you can use to store a boat of nearly any size so it will be protected from winter weather and ready to use again next summer. Order a portable garage today.