If you own a boat, you probably keep it on your property or at the harbor during the spring, summer and maybe even the fall. However, in the winter, it is a little too cold to leave it out in the open. Even if you don't live somewhere that gets snow, it is still at risk when you leave it out in cold temperatures. Here are some tips that can help you prepare your boat for storage so that it is in pristine condition when you're ready to take it out again.
Take Your Boat Out
It is highly recommended that you take your boat out one more time before storing it, if you're able to. You'll not only enjoy the boat before several months of storage, but you'll also be able to make mental notes of the repairs that need to be done. Maybe the carpets need to be cleaned or replaced, the winch keeps sticking, or the electronics need some major updating. When you return home, write down what work you would like to get done and add it to your schedule for the coming year. You may find that some minor repairs should really be done before you store it for the winter.
Empty and Clean
When you return from your final boating trip of the season, get it as empty as you can. Unload the kitchen cookware, utensils, cups and plates so you can put them in the dishwasher. Empty all the food, including pantry food and what is in the boat's icebox. Take all the gear off your boat, as well as any blankets, linens, pillows, or clothing items you have. You should also remove fire extinguishers and other removable safety equipment to store it separate from the boat.
Once your boat is emptied, you can clean it thoroughly. The boat needs to be cleaned inside and out, from the bathroom and kitchen area, to the deck and exterior of the boat. Scrub the carpets and wash the paneling inside. Make sure everything is clean and wiped down before you store it.
Winterize the Boat
With the boat cleaned and aired out, you need to finish winterizing it before you can choose a proper storage facility. Top off the tank with fuel, but leave a small amount left to allow for expansion. Replace the oil filter and change the engine oil. You also want to check other elements of the boat, including the coolant, belts, hoses, and clamps. Check the strainers and find out where you can recycle your used oil when you empty it. Pump out the holding tank and flush the head with water. You also want to add anti-freeze that is non-toxic to the fish well, sump pump, air conditioning pumps, and ice maker.
Store Your Boat
Now that it is ready to be stored, you can choose an appropriate storage facility. Self-storage facilities often have units specifically designed for boats. They are large enough to accommodate different types of boats and usually have climate and temperature control. Make sure you line the bottom of the storage unit first with wood planks, then roll in the boat. Cover it properly so you don't have to deal with exterior damage when spring comes around.