4 Tips for Storing Your Boat This Winter

4 Tips for Storing Your Boat This Winter

For boaters in many parts of the country, winter is the time to lock their vessels away for months until spring thaws out the rivers and lakes again. If you need to store your boat this winter, follow these simple tips to ensure your boat doesn’t lose any of its value in storage.

1. Drain the Boat

The first thing you should do before storing your boat is to make sure that it’s completely drained and dry. Especially if you’re storing the boat in a cold location, excess water can freeze and expand, wreaking havoc on a boat. To avoid this, make sure it’s bone-dry when it goes into storage.

Empty the bilge, water tanks, pipes, seacocks, and anywhere else on your boat where water could accumulate. Excess water in boats stored in cold conditions has cracked many hulls and caused severe damage in many vessels before—make sure yours isn’t one of them!

2. Clean Every Inch

Next, before storing the boat for months, make sure it goes in clean as a whistle. Now’s the time to give your boat the full-body cleaning it needs after a season out on the water.

Remove any clutter or debris left inside the boat’s drawers or other storage cabinets. Put everything you take off the boat in a box or sealed tote and keep it with the boat storage to ensure you don’t lose anything in the offseason. Finally, on the outside, clean the boat’s hull and remove any barnacles or grime before applying a protective wax coating.

3. Remove the Battery

One of the most important tips for storing your boat this winter is to remove the battery. Too often, boat owners forget or don’t bother, and the battery dies in storage because leaving a battery uncharged for so long can damage its capacity.

When you remove the battery, examine it closely—looking for signs your battery should be replaced. Clean the battery terminals and cables and store them someplace warm and dry with a trickle charger, so it stays functional during the months of storage.

4. Winterize the Engine

The cold and dry winter storage conditions can severely damage a boat’s engine if it’s not properly winterized. So if you’re putting your boat away for the colder months, it’s crucial to winterize your engine properly.

To winterize the engine, flush it with fresh water, refill the coolant system with antifreeze, and replace the oil filters. If you’re unfamiliar with the mechanics of an engine, hire a professional to do it for you—many marinas and storage places offer the service.

Follow these simple tips, and your boat will return in the spring just as capable and strong as when you put it away in the fall!

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