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Winter Boat Storage Made Easier

A man cleaning his boat for winter storage.

While it does take preparation time and additional expense, it’s important to protect your boat for the winter. The good news is, it’s the perfect time to complete regular maintenance or any needed repairs, so you don’t lose precious time out on the water during the warmer months. And the more time you take to winterize your boat properly, the easier it will be to get it back on the water when you’re ready! For information on proper boat storage and to help ensure you get the most out of your investment for the longest time possible, follow the steps outlined below.

Why Should I Worry About Winter Boat Storage?

Winter is harsh on all travel vessels, but even more so on boats due to the number of parts left exposed to the elements. Rain, snow, sun, and extreme temperatures can all wreak havoc on a boat’s engine, as can simply keeping it unused for months on end without proper protection. The first thing any boat owner should do is to read the owner’s manual. This will explain how to winterize your boat and store it properly. When in doubt, always reach out to a professional at a boat storage facility or boat manufacturer.

Steps to Boat Storage for the Winter

Step #1: Do a Walk-Through

Protect your boat by removing all items, such as electronics, (store these in a warm, dry place with the battery) and emergency equipment like fire extinguishers and flares. These can be damaged by cold and moisture. Clothing and swimsuits, even life jackets,can end up with mold or mildew if left on the boat. And don’t forget any leftover food or drinks from the cabinets. While getting everything out, this is the time to go over all areas and see if any repairs are needed. Any cracks in the hull can get worse if left unrepaired for long periods of time.

Step #2: Plan for Boat Storage

It’s always best not to keep your boat on the water over the winter. It’s more likely to sink, be vandalized, and just generally suffer damage over the winter, if not protected properly. Indoor boat storage is recommended, but you can alternatively store it in a garage, or mount it on supports and use a cover. Whatever you choose for winter boat storage, avoid placing your boat on a trailer (which can place too much weight and stress on the tires and bearings). 

Step #3: Winterize Your Boat

Now that you have a plan for your winter boat storage, it’s time to get your boat in shape: 

  •     First drain it (except for the engine water intake — wait until you’re winterizing the engine to do that), including water and coolant.
  •     Next, give the whole boat a good, hard cleaning with soap and water, then wax it once it’s completely dry.
  •     Winterize the engine. This entails flushing it, refilling the coolant, running the engine to remove any impurities left behind, and then changing the oil (take this time to also add fogging oil to the carburetor and spark plug holes).
  •     Finally, do the annual maintenance before storing it. Lubricate any moving parts (such as steering and controls), loosen or remove belts (which may crack or snap from tension), seal the exhaust ports if your boat has them, and remove the battery and charge it. And just like your car, protect your boat by keeping it full of gas so it won’t freeze!

 Step #4: Cover and Store

Once you’re ready to head to your winter boat storage location, this final step of covering and storing your boat will depend on whether you decide to use a boat storage facility. If you keep it under a canopy or inside a garage, mount your boat on supports, cover it well and use a dehumidifier. The more exposed your boat is, the better cover you’ll need. For example, you may consider shrink-wrapping to better protect your boat

Winter Boat Storage Near Me with Self Storage Plus 

To winterize your boat with confidence, talk to the professionals at Self Storage Plus about boat storage availability. Knowing one of your most prized possessions is behind additional levels of protection will keep you feeling warm all winter long. To get started, find a self storage location near you today!

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Self Storage Plus

P.O. Box 25523

Washington, DC 20027

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