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  • Keenan Knight

How to Prepare your Boat for Winter Storage

When the summer season comes to a close, it’s time for boaters to think about storage for their boat in the winter months. Preparing your boat for storage will help maintain its condition and make it easier to use when boating season returns. 

Whether you're a first time boater or seasoned boater, use this guide to properly prepare your boat for winter storage. 

row of boats covered and ready to go in storage

Clean Your Boat & Inspect for Damages

To prevent any mold, mildew, or corrosion from developing while in storage, thoroughly clean the boat exterior and interior. 

Start by removing any dirt, salt, or grime residue on the boat. Do this by using a mix of mild detergent and water to scrub the surfaces. When cleaning, pay attention to areas that tend to build up, such as the bilge and engine compartment.

Next, clean and dry all interior surfaces, storage areas, cabinets, and seat cushions. Take the time to organize all compartments and take an inventory list of everything that is staying on the boat. Before putting the cover on, make sure there isn’t any trash or personal belongings left on the boat.

Check the boat for any damages that may have occurred during the season. Things to look for are cracks, dents, or any signs of wear and tear. No matter the damage, you should address these issues before storing the boat for the winter.

Drain Water Systems

Excess water within your boat’s systems can cause freezing and other damages. To prevent this, drain all water from the engine block, cooling system, fresh water tanks, and plumbing. 

Change Engine Oil & Filter 

Used oil can hold contaminants that wreak havoc on the boat engine, and cause damage like corrosion while sitting in storage. Prevent this by conducting an oil change and protecting the boat’s engine for the months ahead. 

  • Change the engine oil and to remove any contaminants that could harm the engine. Make sure you are using the correct oil type for the vessel. 

  • Fog the engine cylinders with fogging oil to protect the internal components of the engine from corrosion during storage

  • Grease all fittings and moving parts, including the propeller shaft, steering system, and throttle linkage. This protects the engine parts from excess moisture.

Flush the Cooling System 

Excess water, salt, and debris left in the cooling system could lead to corrosion during the winter months. To prevent this, flush out the cooling system with fresh water. 

If you live in a colder climate, antifreeze is essential. To prevent your engine from becoming frozen in the colder winter months, run antifreeze through the cooling system. 

Stabilize the Fuel System.

To keep your engine running smoothly, change the fuel filter and add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank. Run the engine for a few minutes to ensure the stabilizer circulates throughout the system.

Remove Batteries and Electronics

Disconnect the batteries so they don’t don't lose their charge. Store them in a cool, dry location to prevent them from losing their charge. Make sure to fully charge them before storing and periodically recharge throughout the winter.

Also, remove electronics and valuables from the boat to avoid theft or damage from bad weather. 

Cover and Secure Boat 

After a final walk through, it’s now time to lock it up with a protective boat cover. 

Use a quality boat cover or winter boat storage shrink wrap to protect your boat from debris and potential damages. Ensure that the cover is secure and buckled down correctly. 

Store Boat in a Safe & Secure Location 

Store your boat in a safe and secure location, whether it be a garage, outside on a trailer, or a storage facility. 

For those without the space, a boat storage facility is a great option. In most storage facilities, you will have the choice of either indoor boat storage or covered outdoor boat storage spaces. 

  • Indoor Boat Storage. Indoor boat storage facilities are the most secure storage option that offers a fully enclosed and climate controlled space. If you live in an area with colder winters and want protection from harsh weather conditions, this gives you more peace of mind. 

  • Outdoor Boat Storage.Outdoor boat storage facilities that are covered are cheaper than indoor storage units, but offer less protection. Those that use outdoor boat storage must take extra precautions to winterize and prepare boats for winter months. 

Looking for Boat Storage in LaGrange, GA? 

Are you looking for short or long term Boat/RV Storage in LaGrange, GA? Airport Storage & Trucks has both in-door and out-door options available! 

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