How to Prepare a Boat for Winter Storage
Even with a high-quality storage shelter ready, getting a boat prepared for winter involves preparation. While lengthy, the process guards against corrosion, ice forming inside the vehicle, and other damages that result in more maintenance, could cause a breakdown, and ultimately give you less use out of the boat than you would prefer.
Check for Damage
A common piece of advice before a boat goes into storage is, take it for one final ride. But rather than enjoy the scenery like you often do, observe the boat. Does it sail well? Do parts look like they need repairs? If so, it's better to address repairs before you keep the vehicle stored away for the next six months.
As you go to clean and make repairs, remove the bilge drain hull, and scrub off any grime, oil, and dirt from the hull, deck, thru-hulls, strainers, and opening seacocks. Make sure the boat is fully dry before placing it inside a storage shelter.
Engine and Fuel System Maintenance
While the exterior of the boat can easily be cleaned, the interior can't. To remove any salt, dirt, or corrosion from the interior, flush the engine with fresh water. Then, make sure all water is drained from the engine, and don't forget to add antifreeze to the cooling system.
As an effort to prevent condensation, top off the fuel tank, change the filter, and add a marine stabilizer. To make sure the stabilizer circulates throughout the boat, run the engine after adding it. While your boat is in storage, check regularly to make sure the fuel system remains clean.
Before the boat is put away for the season, change the engine oil and oil filter once the engine is warmed up to flush out any sediment. Then, refill it with oil, based on the manufacturer's recommendations. Do the same for the outdrive gear case or outboard lower unit.
The engine and outdrive gear case aren't the only parts needing lubrication for the winter. To prevent rusting, add displacing lubricant to hinges and other metal parts.
Other factors may result in mildew, mold, or corrosion in storage. To eliminate these risks, remove supplies, such as sails or lifejackets, from inside the boat and place them in a dry location, either inside the shelter or indoors, if space allows. Along with this, take out all electronics, including the battery. After the battery is placed in a cool and dry location, clean the corrosion and buildup inside the terminal.
When it comes to storing your boat, select a shelter that not only fits the vehicle but allows for a few additional feet of interior space. This way, as the enclosed shelter keeps out moisture and UV rays, you can perform regular checks throughout the winter season.
More Portable Garage Information & Tips