How to Prepare Your Boat for Storage
Unfortunately, summer is coming to an end and while you still may get some use out of your boat during the fall – it’s never too early to start thinking about your storage options for the colder parts of the year. Whether you’ll be keeping your boat at home, or off-site in a storage facility, in this article we’ll walk you through how to properly prepare your boat for storage during the fall & winter.
Why You Should Winterize Your Boat This Fall
Winterizing your boat or vessel is extremely important when looking to get the most life out of your boat and to ensure that it remains seaworthy for as long as possible. In Canada, we often experience very cold and unforgiving winters that can wreak havoc on both the body and internal systems of our boats (or any motorized vehicle). By taking the time to properly prepare your vessel for the winter months, you can ensure that it’s ready to go as soon as the Spring starts again.
How to Winterize Your Boat
1. Remove Personal Items
The first step to winterizing your vessel is to remove any personal items from inside. This includes things such as your fire extinguishers, life jackets, flares, cushions, carpets, and other electronics that can easily be damaged by the cold, moisture, or mold. By removing these items your boat – you can ensure that they are protected and kept in a safe place until the winter is over.
2. Clean Your Boat
One of the most dreaded and time-consuming steps in winterizing your boat is the cleaning. For this process, you’ll want to ensure that you do a thorough job and not skip any steps. Start by washing the hull, deck, cockpit, and cabin with water and mild soap. Once complete you’ll then want to dry your boat out with a towel or an air blower to ensure that everything is dry. Lastly, it’s important that you apply wax and a protective coating to your hull to prevent any rust or corrosion while it’s stored away.
3. Change the Oil
Next, you’ll want to do a full oil change on your boat to ensure that it’s topped up with clean oil and a fresh oil filter. Old oil can contain impurities and moisture, so you’ll also want to run your engine for several minutes after changing it to circulate it around the engine.
4. Adding a Fuel Stabilizer & Topping Up
One of the simpler steps is to top up your fuel tank and add a fuel stabilizer to help protect it from deteriorating over the winter months. Like the oil change, you’ll also want to run your engine for a few minutes after doing this in order to distribute it throughout your fuel system.
5. Remove the Battery
Much like maintaining your car, you’ll want to ensure that after you remove your battery that all your wiring and terminals are clean and free of any corrosion, damage, or wear. During the winter you’ll also want to test the battery and keep it charged while it’s not in use.
6. Flush and Drain Systems
Another important step to preparing your vessel for the winter is to drain all water from the internal systems of your boat. This includes things like the engine, water tanks, bilge pumps, pipes, and hoses. You’ll also want to be sure to flush your cooling system and add anti-freeze to protect it once the weather gets colder.
7. Winter Boat Covers and Wraps
Wrapping / covering your boat for the winter is the last step you’ll need to do after you’ve completed all the above steps and have a final inspection for any cracks, leaks or damage (which you’ll want to address before wrapping your boat). You’ll want to get a boat cover that fits the shape of your boat tightly and is breathable to protect it from moisture, dirt, dust, and other environmental factors.
8. Keep it off the Ground
Now that you’re ready to store it away, you’ll just want to ensure that it’s tucked away properly throughout the winter. This just means that you’ll want to keep it off the ground on a trailer designed to hold a boat properly.
Indoor and Outdoor Boat Storage
The last thing you’ll want to consider is where you’ll store your boat during the off-season. If you’re not able to keep it at home, or just want to save some space on the driveway you’ll want to consider looking into a boat storage or parking service. Many places offer either indoor or outdoor storage options which often fill up quickly at the start of the fall season.
If you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor storage solution for your boat or other vehicle (such as an RV), we can help! At Make Space Storage, we provide boat, RV, and automobile parking and storage solutions across Canada. Visit our locations page to find a location near you or reach out to us through our online chat or contact us to ask any questions you may have.