Storing a Boat For the Winter? Don’t Forget These Steps

Saying goodbye to open waters is difficult to do. However, with winter weather here, it’s important to put your boat in storage until the next boating season. Storage protects your boat from harsh elements, such as ice and snow. Maintain your boat’s good condition so that you can enjoy the waves another day. Remember these key steps to prepare your boat for storage.

Make Sure the Boat Is Clean

Take the time to thoroughly clean the boat. Wipe down windows, windshields, and trim. Check the exterior for any needed touch-ups. Wash the deck and other high foot traffic areas. Finish with a layer of wax to prevent rust. Make sure everything is dry and take out all damp accessories, like wet towels, to prevent mold growth.

While no one particularly enjoys deep cleaning, this step will make the next launch a quicker process. Take time to clean and check the boat before storage, instead of doing so at the beginning of the next boating season. This way, when the weather warms, you’ll enjoy the maximum amount of time on the water.

Make Sure the Boat Is Dry

Water left sitting on a boat causes two harmful things: mold and rust. Mold does more than indicate a dirty boat – it is an eyesore and it creates potential breathing problems for the crew and guests on board. Rust leads to corrosion, which leads to repairs that could have been avoided. Especially for steel boats, rust can cause damage and cut down the life expectancy of the boat.

To keep out mold and rust, drain any standing water from the boat before it is stored. Moisture is problematic as well. Give nooks and crannies a wipe down. These are the places susceptible to moisture build up and mold growth. Additionally, block the ports and cover the top to keep out potential wetness (as well as critters also looking for a dry place during winter).

Make Sure the Boat Is Fueled

The boat’s engine sits unused for a considerable amount of time during storage, and you need to prepare it so that no damage is done. An empty gas tank is another place where mold can grow. Fill up the boat’s gas tank before dropping it off at storage. This keeps out mold, corrosion, or any moisture that might freeze in the cold temperatures.

Gas left alone in a tank creates other problems, like gum buildup that evaporates and clogs the engine. Adding fuel stabilizer to gas helps preserve the engine and keeps the fuel from evaporating. Safeguard your engine from potential damage caused by gum buildup by using fuel stabilizer.

Make Sure the Boat Is Oiled

Before storing in your boat for winter, change the oil and oil filter. Wash and dry out the oil tank to get any moisture, water, or grim that may have seeped in during use. Water in an oil tank can lead to corrosion and damage. Ideally, you should change the oil when the engine is slightly warmed to rid any particles in the tank. Pour in new oil to keep moisture away.

Make Sure the Boat Is Off

It is frustrating to take a boat out of storage only to find that the battery dead. Charge up the battery and then disconnect it, so it does not drain. If necessary, clean the battery contacts with a scrub of water and baking soda because clean battery contacts can make the connection better. If your boat is stored in an extremely cold place, remove the battery and store it inside for further protection.

Make Sure the Boat Is Safe

Find a safe storage place for your boat. Boats are precious items that need security. Look for a storage facility that has indoor and outdoor storage options, as well as security in place. If you’re using outdoor storage, then make sure there are fences and security cameras to avert theft or vandalism.

If you’re looking for a place to store your boat or have questions about the storing process, then contact us at Petzold’s Marine Center.