If you are a boat owner, you’ll want to take every precaution to protect your boat during the months when you aren’t using it. Gaining a better understanding of how to store your boat for winter can help lay the groundwork for a smooth transition back to the water in the spring. A key aspect of winter boat storage is adequate preparation before cold weather hits. Here are our top tips for preparing your boat for vehicle storage in the winter.
Change Your Oil
Although it may seem like your engine is a sealed system, your engine oil can contain acids and water that can damage your engine if it’s stored for long periods without being run. Before you store your boat for winter, take the time to get an oil change. Be sure to change your oil filter as well.
Drain Your Boat
This may seem like an obvious point, but you’ll want to drain any excess water in your boat before storing it. Any leftover water in your boat can freeze during cold water. That frozen water will expand and can damage your hull. To avoid this, remove your bilge drain to empty any remaining water in your boat.
Fill Your Tank Up
Storing your boat with a half-full gas tank can introduce a world of problems when you go to start it up in the spring. Condensation can build in the fuel tank if there is available space. That condensation can corrode the tank or even freeze. To avoid costly repairs associated with this, fill up your tank before you store your boat. You’ll also want to add a fuel stabilizer, which is a product that bonds with the gasoline in your engine and forms a layer to prevent evaporation.
Fog Your Engine
You should strongly consider spraying your engine with fogging oil before you store it for winter. As your engine is stored, the oils that protect crucial engine parts begin to drain due to gravity. This leaves things like your cylinder walls and piston rings exposed to the air. That air can condense over time and lead to corrosion. Fogging oil coats the vulnerable parts of your engine with a protective layer that will help to avoid corrosion during storage.
Remove Your Battery
If you store your boat for winter as-is, it is almost certain that when spring comes around you’ll be greeted with a dead battery. Avoiding this problem is simple. First, you’ll want to remove the battery from your boat and store it in a dry area like your garage. It is commonly recommended to store your battery on wooden blocks away from your walls.
The main problem with storing a battery for a long period is that your battery will lose its charge. To avoid this, you’ll need to hook it up to a trickle charger over the winter. Trickle chargers are devices that help your battery maintain a topped-off charge. Be sure to take the time to find a trickle charger that is appropriate for the specific type of marine battery you are using. Otherwise, you can always opt to buy a new one when you plan to use your boat again.
Whether you are using indoor winter boat storage or parking your boat outdoors, you will want to invest in a solution to cover it. There are a couple of different options that are available for you to cover your boat.
A custom-made cover for your boat is the most expensive option, but it is also a good way to get a cover that is reusable over the years. If you are on a budget, you can consider plastic or canvas tarps, but these won’t result in the best coverage. Lastly, you can professionally shrink wrap your boat. Shrink Wrapping results in the best coverage and the tightest seal against the elements, but is a yearly cost that will add up.
If you own a very large boat, you’ll have to decide whether you want to deal with the problems that storing it in water over the winter can lead to. However, if you own a trailer boat you will definitely want to store it on land. When considering the best way to store a boat during winter, you’ll want an area with ample, dedicated storage space to avoid any accidental damage from other vehicles and boats stored in the same location. You’ll also want somewhere that limits access and is well lit. Some protection from the elements is a plus, but it isn’t always a requirement if the boat is adequately covered.
If you don’t have the room to store your boat on your property, consider storing it at a Price Self Storage facility that offers vehicle storage. Our self-storage facilities have keypad controlled access limited to authorized individuals, are well lit, and select locations offer dedicated indoor and outdoor storage options for boat storage.
Before you store your boat for winter, you’ll want to take the time to protect your boat against damage that cold weather and leaving it idle for a long time can cause. You’ll especially want to do this if you plan on storing it in an outdoor space. Collectively, these efforts are known as “winterization”, and if you don’t want to do them yourself you can usually pay a professional to winterize your boat.
Once you complete all of the preparations for your boat’s systems, you’ll want to store it in a location that has limited access and protects it from the elements. Our Price Self Storage facilities are an ideal location to store your boat for the winter. With ample space and dedicated boat storage, your boat will be ready to hit the water come spring. A drive-up unit can fit some sizes of boats, but it’s best you call us or check online to find the right size storage for your boat. Whether you’re storing a spare bed or storing a boat or vehicle, we have the solution to all your self-storage needs.