Seasons of Storage: Getting the Boat Ready for Winter Storage
Next up in our “Seasons of Storage” series: getting your boat ready for winter storage.
Wait a minute…
Summer’s not even over. Plus there’s still the autumn to get through before winter arrives.
Isn’t it a little too early to think about boat
Actually, it isn’t.
That’s because it takes time to get your boat ready to be stored for the season.
And even though you may not be finished taking it out on the water, you may want to start preparing your boat for winter storage.
That way, when you’re done using it for the year, it’s ready to be safety stored until next spring.
Clean your boat from top to bottom (and bow to stern)
Otherwise, mold and mildew could form over your boat during the winter.
And mold and mildew is will give you a nasty surprise when you pull your boat out of self storage next year.
Plus, giving your boat a good cleaning will let you see any damage that could use repairing prior to storage (because there’s no point in waiting until next year to fix your boat).
Replace the spark plugs
Remove the old spark plugs from your boat’s engine and spray it with fogging oil.
Then, install new spark plugs and turn over the engine (but don’t start it).
Doing this will coat the cylinders and keep them protected over the cold winter.
Drain the oil and other fluids
- Oil drainage: Draining the oil from your boat will prevent any water that’s accumulated from freezing in the winter (and potentially damaging your engine).
- Coolants: Flush out the cooling system, just as you would in a car or other vehicle.
- Fuel: Chances are you won’t want to drain your boat’s fuel. Instead, top off the fuel and add a fuel stabilizer to the motor in order to keep the gas in your boat’s engine safe and secure.
Boat storage FAQs
If you’re new to boat ownership, then you’re also new to boat storage.
You may have some questions about how to properly and safely store your boat so that it lasts the winter and is ready for the water as soon as possible next year.
Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers too) you may have about storing your boat.
Q: Should I place my boat on jacks?
Absolutely! Your boat needs to be correctly supported when it’s out of the water. Cinder blocks or 4x8s may not adequately support the following key areas:
- Bulk heads
If you don’t have jack stands, a custom cradle or trailer will do just fine.
Q: Should I leave my belongings on my boat over the winter?
Your best option is to remove and place whatever you can in a storage unit that’s near the boat.
Even though your boat is in storage, your items could suffer damage from exposure to the cold temperatures, heavy snow and blowing wind of winter.
Go over your boat’s inventory and make certain the following items are taken out and safely and securely stored for the season:
- Dock and rigging lines
- Fire extinguishers
- Flares and emergency kits
- GPS and radar units
- Fishing gear
Q: What should I do with the battery?
Disconnect the battery so that it doesn’t drain or die out during the winter.
Another helpful tip is to add distilled water to your marine battery in order to top off its cells and to keep sediment out of the cells too.
Here’s how to safely add distilled water to your boat’s battery:
- Clean the battery’s top with a rag and remove any water, dirt and gunk
- Put on safety goggles and remove the battery caps from the cells
- Place a small funnel into each battery cell
- Fill each battery cell with distilled water until the cell is filled up (don’t overfill the cell)
- Replace and tighten the battery caps
- Get rid of any fluid that’s still on top of the battery with a clean rag
Q: What’s the best option for storing my boat?
Boat owners in Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, Georgetown and the GTA choose to store boats at 10 Mini Storage.
- Indoor and outdoor boat storage options are available
- 24/7 video surveillance ensures your boat is always being monitored
- Choose from seasonal or long-term storage solutions
- Affordable rates