Winter weather patterns have evolved to become more unpredictable. Areas that traditionally had milder winters are now experiencing freezing temperatures and snowfall. This unpredictability makes it essential for boat owners to prepare their vessels appropriately for a change in the weather. Here are some tips on preparing your boat for winter storage.
Clean the Boat
Start your boat’s winter preparation with a meticulous cleaning. Use fresh water and a mild detergent to wash away any dirt, salt, or grime that has accumulated over the summer months. Pay special attention to areas prone to mold and mildew. Removing these potential corrosive substances protects your boat’s surfaces from damage during the storage period.
Ensure All Areas Are Dry
Once you’ve cleaned your boat, dry it thoroughly. Moisture can lead to rust, corrosion, and mold growth, causing severe damage to your vessel. In addition to the deck, rails, and cabin exterior, be sure to dry all hidden and hard-to-reach areas. Open all lockers, compartments, and drawers to circulate air and speed up the drying process.
Inflate Trailer Tires
A crucial but often overlooked aspect of preparing your boat for winter storage is inflating the trailer tires. Properly inflated tires support your boat’s weight and prevent flat spots from forming during the long winter storage period. Check the tire pressure and fill them to the recommended PSI.
Considerations for Gasoline-Powered Boats
Gasoline-powered boats require additional steps for winter preparation. First, change the oil and filters. Over time, oil accumulates contaminants that can cause corrosion if left in the engine during winter. Changing the oil and filters removes these harmful substances and protects your engine.
Next, apply fogging oil to the engine. Fogging oil coats the internal components of your engine with a layer of corrosion-inhibiting oil. Follow the fogging oil manufacturer’s instructions for correct application.
Prevent condensation in your fuel tank by filling it up and adding a fuel stabilizer. Lastly, use antifreeze in your boat’s water systems to prevent freezing and subsequent damage.
Considerations for Electric Boats
For boats with electric marine motors, you should fully charge the battery (but for lithium-ion batteries, charge to 50 percent). Disconnect the battery and stow it in a cool, dry place that won’t freeze. Check the charge monthly and recharge as necessary.
Preparing your boat for winter storage is a critical task, especially due to the unpredictability of winter weather. Proper winterizing ensures that your vessel remains in excellent condition throughout the cold season. When the next boating season arrives, you’ll appreciate the effort you put in now.