How to Winterize Your Boat for Storage

Feb 08, 2024

Winter is coming, and it's time to start thinking about preparing your boat for storage. Properly winterizing your boat is essential to protect it from the harsh winter elements and ensure it's ready to hit the water again in the spring. Here are some important steps to follow when winterizing your boat:

1. Clean and Dry

Before storing your boat, give it a thorough cleaning both inside and out. Remove any dirt, grime, and salt residue from the exterior using a boat-specific cleaner. Don't forget to clean the interior as well, including the upholstery and carpets. Once cleaned, make sure your boat is completely dry to prevent mold and mildew growth during storage.

2. Change the Oil

Changing the oil in your boat's engine is an essential step in winterizing. Old oil can contain contaminants that can cause damage if left sitting in the engine over the winter months. Be sure to consult your boat's owner manual for the proper oil change procedure and use a high-quality marine oil.

3. Add Fuel Stabilizer

Before storing your boat, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank. This will prevent the fuel from breaking down and causing damage to the engine. Follow the instructions on the stabilizer bottle for the correct amount to add based on your boat's fuel capacity.

4. Drain the Water

Make sure to drain all water from your boat's systems to prevent freezing and potential damage. This includes draining the engine cooling system, freshwater system, and any other water-related components. Again, consult your boat's manual for specific instructions on how to properly drain these systems.

5. Remove the Battery

Remove the boat's battery and store it in a cool, dry place for the winter. Cold temperatures can drain the battery, so it's important to keep it in a location where it won't freeze. Before storing, clean the battery terminals and apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly to prevent corrosion.

6. Protect the Exterior

Invest in a good quality boat cover to protect the exterior from the winter elements. A properly fitted cover will help prevent moisture buildup, UV damage, and keep your boat looking its best. Additionally, consider using a dehumidifier or moisture absorber inside the boat to further prevent mold and mildew.

7. Store in a Safe Location

Choose a safe and secure location to store your boat for the winter. If possible, store it indoors to provide the best protection. If indoor storage is not an option, look for a reputable marina or storage facility that offers outdoor storage with security measures in place.

8. Perform Routine Maintenance

While winterizing your boat, take the opportunity to perform any routine maintenance tasks that may be needed. This could include checking and replacing spark plugs, inspecting belts and hoses, and lubricating moving parts. Taking care of these tasks now will save you time and money in the long run.

9. Keep an Eye on Your Boat

Even though your boat may be in storage, it's important to periodically check on it throughout the winter. Look for any signs of damage or moisture buildup and address them promptly. This will help prevent any potential issues from becoming major problems.

10. Plan for Spring

Lastly, start planning for the upcoming boating season while your boat is in storage. Make a list of any upgrades or repairs you want to tackle before hitting the water again. This way, you'll be ready to go as soon as the weather warms up.