How to Store a Boat for the Winter

boat winterization tips

There are a variety of options for boat storage during the winter months: in the water, dry storage facilities, storing in a driveway or storing at a self storage facility. It is important to investigate the different options and what type of storage is best for you. Consult the boat’s owner manual for any specific storage instructions. Most people end up storing their boats in their drive-ways, but self storage is a great option to keep your boat safe during the winter months.

How to Winterize a Boat in 10 Easy Steps

When you are storing your boat for the winter, there are precautions that you need to take to make sure your boat it will be in good working order. Then, in the spring, you can dewinterize your boat and be ready to put it back in the water.

  1. Before you place the boat in storage, take it out for one last ride to listen for any engine issues and to see if any repairs will be needed over the winter.
  2. As part of your boat winterization process, fill the gas tank completely and add a fuel stabilizer. After you add the stabilizer, run the flusher with the new fuel stabilizer for at least ten minutes for it to run through the tank.
  3. Check the engine oil and replace the filters. Check hoses, belts and clamps. Check the steering cables and lines. Drain and completely flush the gear case and refill with new lubricant.
  4. Flush the coolant system completely and add new antifreeze. Check the owner’s manual for instructions on choosing the correct antifreeze for your boat as this will vary with boat type.
  5. Remove and replace the spark plugs. Apply fogging oil to the carburetor and the cylinders before placing in storage. When you run the engine again in the spring, there will be smoke from using the fogging oil. This will only happen for the first few times that the engine is turned on.
  6. Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the boat from top to bottom. Scrape off any barnacles that might have attached to the hull. Wash down the decks with a pressure washer. Use a vinyl cleaner to clean the vinyl surfaces on the boat.
  7. If you are storing the boat long term, remove the battery from the boat and clean it. Spray the battery with anti-corrosion spray and put the battery in a dry warm safe place.
  8. Remove all electronics, flares and fire extinguishers from the boat while it is in storage. In addition to electronics, remove pots, pans, dishes, linens and draperies and clean them. Repair and replace any damaged items.
  9. Place a canvas over the motor, then, cover the entire boat with a polytarp or polyvinyl cover that is made to specifically fit the boat. This will help protect the inside of the boat from the elements.
  10. Store the boat on a trailer and if possible put the trailer on blocks or pieces of wood to protect the tires of the trailer from damage during the winter months.

Boat Storage Facilities

ezStorage has 7 boat storage facilities in Maryland: Arbutus/Maiden Choice, Bel Air, Columbia/ Jessup/ North Laurel, Pasadena, Randallstown, Rosedale/White Marsh/Essex and South Bowie/Upper Marlboro. Contact the facilities before you are ready to store your boat for the winter to see if there are available boat storage spaces.