How to Prepare A Boat for Long Term Storage
Your boat takes you on many amazing adventures in the spring and summer, enabling you to create wonderful memories with your friends and family. Though you want the good weather to last forever, winter eventually comes. In cold weather, boats do not see a lot of action, and if they're left alone about being turned on for too long, they can corrode and wear down quickly. To prevent any unnecessary damage, treat your boat nicely before you put it away in storage. By following these useful winterizing tips, you can maintain your boat properly for season after season. This will maximize your boat’s lifetime potential and value, so you can go boating for years to come.
Prepare the Engine
As with all kinds of watercraft, boats take in a lot of water. Prepare your boat’s engine first to make sure it's not stored with any water inside it. Follow your manufacturer's recommended procedure for draining and removing water from the engine. Be sure to follow all safety procedures and to work with a professional if this task is difficult to do alone. Naturally, this must be done when the boat is taken out of the water and parked on land.
If your boat is going to go in a long-term storage facility, then it's especially important that water doesn't leak or stay in the boat and freeze during the winter. This can cause a variety of problems that may prohibit your boat from turning on in the spring. You should also apply corrosion protection measures to your engine according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, which can include fogging and other lubrication.
Add Fuel Stabilizer
If the fuel left in a boat is not treated, then it can get gummy or collect moisture over the winter, which can make its future startup difficult. To prevent problems, top off the fuel and then add a fuel stabilizer and run the engine. This will integrate the fuel stabilizer into the gas tank so that all the fuel can be properly treated and not gum up during winter storage. Also, change any fuel filters and water separators so that your engine can be in perfect condition when you take it out again.
Drain the Boat's Freshwater Plumbing Systems
Each boat has its unique type of freshwater plumbing system, so the method in which you flush it will be different for your boat. However, a boat typically has components such as sinks, tanks, and heads, which need to be drained. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines to flushing these systems and drain them. Before winterizing your boat and putting it away, this system should be free of water. You should also add antifreeze to your plumbing systems.
Use the products that your manufacturer recommends for the best results. If there's also water in any other type of systems such as the raw water wash-down, bilge pump, and live wells, they should also be attended to. Remove water from these components so that they don't grow any mold or cause corrosion during the winter. Standing water can burst any pipes when they freeze. In addition to this plumbing system treatment, you should also remove drain plugs. For more specific winterization tips for your boat, consult your user's manual.
Clean And Cover Your Boat
Now that your boat is out of the water and its vital components have been treated for long-term storage, you should make sure that your boat is nice and clean. Clean the upholstery and remove any food particles and standing water within the boat's cabin and seating area. If you leave these items dirty, then you can potentially encounter unpleasant smells and mold growth when you take your boat back out. Then, cover your boat with a specialized cover that can keep out wind rain and other components.
Store It Indoors or Under a Shelter
Though a boat cover can sufficiently protect and insulate your watercraft against water and some harsh weather, it is not a perfect solution. Extreme seasons such as winter can be hazardous to boats if they are left completely outdoors. Your boat will experience sharp fluctuations in temperature that can affect its structural integrity. For the best results, store your boat inside in the garage or in a storage unit that is temperature control. If there is a place that has lower humidity like a climate-controlled unit that would be the best situation for your boat.
Can I Store a Boat in a Storage Unit?
Yes, you can store a boat in a drive up storage unit as long as the door closes completely. You may also want to consider storing your boat in an outdoor parking space. Storage units are measured in feet so grab your tape measure and measure the length and width of your boat. It’s better err on the side caution and select a slightly larger unit. Our customer service team will be happy to walk through the storage rental process.
Checklist for Preparing Your Boat for Winter Storage and Beyond
Before placing your boat in storage there are a couple things you should do to protect your investment.
- Clean the Boat’s Exterior: A clean boat is a happy boat. Make sure everything is dry to prevent rust.
- Change the Oil: Water in your oil can cause havoc on your engine. Be sure to change the filter and flush it out before adding oil.
- Flush Coolant System: Drain out the current coolant and flush the system. Next fill it with fresh antifreeze to prevent engine corrosion.
- Grease it Up: Grease the steering mechanism, joints, and other moving parts to ensure it will run smoothly when you take your boat out of storage.
- Add Fogging Oil: If the engine is not diesel, use fogging oil to protect the carburetor and cylinders.
- Loosen Drive Belts: When kept under constant tension, drive belts can crack or break. Loosen them or remove them completely.
- Disconnect the Battery: Batteries will lose their charge when kept plugged in and in storage. Make sure you store it in a cool, dry place. Storing it in colder temperatures will slow down the charge loss from storage. You may need to check the charge every 6 weeks with a voltmeter or multi-meter and charge it when necessary.
- Prevent Pests: During colder months pests look for places to take shelter. Cover exhaust ports with a cover or duct tape.
- Add a Fuel Stabilizer: Fuel has a shelf life of about 3 to 4 months so make sure you add a fuel stabilizer to make it last longer. You may have to run your boat and repeat the process if you plan to store it for a long time.
- Inflate Trailer Tires: For extended storage periods, place the trailer on blocks to prevent the tires from warping.
- Cover Your Boat: Protect your boat from the elements as well as dirt & grime.
- Update Boat Insurance: When it comes to Boat insurance be sure that your coverage is updated to include Storage Rentals of America as the storage location.
What Documentation is Required to Store a Boat?
You’ll need to bring in three documents when you come in and rent with us. A government issued ID like a driver’s license or passport, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Check with your insurance provider to see if your policy covers storing your boat in long term storage and bring in a copy.
Your Worry-Free Boat Storage Solution
The benefits of storing your boat with Storage Rentals of America include:
- Clean, well-lit, and affordable storage units of all sizes to accommodate any storage needs from a motorcycle to a large RV and keep them in a protected interior space.
- No long-term rental commitment. We offer month to month leases to give you flexible boat storage.
- Electronic gates and 24/7 video monitoring provide additional protection and security for your important items.
- Store in one of our many convenient facilities across the United States.