You know what time of year it is. The leaves start falling, the air turns brisk, and a boat ride on the lake starts looking less and less appealing. That means you have to think through storing that boat somewhere.
Or, of course, you can just leave your boat out in the harsh, winter elements. Nothing like some snow, freezing rain, and frigid wind to drive down the value of your boat and cause serious corrosion that could lead to expensive repairs.
Yeah, let’s avoid that. First, we’ll take a look at some tips for how to winterize your boat, then we’ll take a look at some storage ideas to make sure your boat is prepped and protected for next summer.
Tips for Winter Boat Storage: How to Winterize Your Boat
1. Clean Your Boat
Grab your favorite sponge and get to scrubbing. Be sure to clean off dust and dirt with a dry cloth, then go through your boat’s interior and exterior with soapy water. However, don’t let the soap dry on the boat’s surface. This can easily damage your boat’s paint and outside coating. One easy way to accomplish this is to wash and rinse small areas at a time to ensure the soap isn’t sitting in a particular spot for an extended period.
2. Charge the Battery
Make sure to suspend the battery and charge it completely. The battery is very susceptible to cold weather damage. Therefore, it is critical to store it in a warm, dry place. You should also take this opportunity to clean your battery terminals and use an anti-corrosion product.
Be careful not to overcharge the battery, however. Specifically, AGM and gel batteries can suffer serious damage if excessive overcharging occurs. Consider using a multistage charger like SmartCharge to prolong battery life during long idle periods like winter.
3. Remove Important Items
Be sure to search the boat and its various compartments for electronics, kitchenware, and various other items that you wouldn’t want sitting out for the whole winter. Also, make sure to remove your fire extinguisher from the boat. Leaving your extinguisher out can cause rust and corrosion that lead to pressure loss.
4. Prep the Engine & Other Elements
This tip includes many steps. Replace your engine oil while in water to drain out more of the dirty oil and its impurities. Use premium oil and filters that are recommended by your engine manufacturer.
Flush out your cooling water with clean water, then flush it to prevent it from freezing in the winter and causing critical damage. Fill your tank with a marine fuel stabilizer and a fresh load of fuel. This prevents your fuel from deteriorating and subsequent poor performance and difficulty starting. Protect your internal engine elements with a fogging oil spray that defends against corrosion. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions to ensure every protocol is followed properly.
5. Keep an Eye on the Boat
So, your boat is all stored away and winterized. Problem solved, right? Not quite.
Check in your boat a few times each month. Regardless of your storage location, be sure to check on your vessel to assure no problem has occurred during storage. You’re going to need a high-quality tarp to cover your boat, so be sure to check on it every once in a while to ensure it is still covering the boat properly.
Locations for Winter Boat Storage
Okay, now that you’ve got your boat prepped for storage, it’s time to, well, store it! Choosing a location for your boat during the winter is a difficult decision. You may not have a huge garage or area to store your boat. Or, you may have a garage, but you want to reserve that space for your vehicles. Here’s a list of a few indoor boat storage locations that you can look to in order to protect your vessel.
1. Your Garage
Nothing wrong with the tried and true old reliable, right?
Storing your boat in a garage is perhaps the most common location for boat owners. Before backing your boat right into your garage, consider the space you have. You want to be able to access the rest of your items in the garage while allowing your boat space to easily exit when next summer rolls around.
A small garage with a big boat may require some serious organizing to make sure your boat fits and remains accessible. Make sure to use every bit of the space available whether that means installing higher-up shelving or hooks for certain items. But, be careful not to squeeze your boat too tight. It’s not worth damaging such a valuable item.
2. Self-Storage Unit
If you’ve got no options at home for your prized vessel, it may be a good idea to look into self-storage units for your winter boat storage. Due to variations in dimensions, you can rent a unit that fits your boat perfectly and not worry about taking up valuable real estate at home.
This allows for peace of mind regarding the security of your vessel while having access to check on your boat whenever to ensure that there are no issues. While you’re away for a winter getaway, you can relax knowing that your boat is under 24-hour surveillance instead of sitting unprotected in your garage.
Many storage units like Fox Den have month-to-month lease agreements to allow you to pay only for the storage time you need instead of being locked into a year-long contract.
3. A Storage Shed
If you have a smaller boat (or are looking at a very large shed), consider using a storage shed for indoor boat storage. This allows you to create a specific location for your boat with customizable options such as material, size, and location on your premises.
You can choose from a variety of materials like wood, plastic, or metal and each requires its own amount of maintenance. From protective coatings to wood repair, these sheds are often subjected to consistent upkeep.
Make the Right Choice for You
With many choices regarding winter boat storage, the answer ultimately comes down to one thing … you. Not every boat is built the same and neither are your winter storage steps. Follow these boat winterizing tips and decide the best storage option for your boat.
If you need any further information regarding self-storage options, please chat with our team to learn about the carefree renting process at Fox Den.