October is when the weather turns chilly in Massachusetts, so that means it’s time to start thinking about storing your boat until next season! It’s essential that you know how to store your boat properly so you don’t have any surprise damage next spring. Follow these simple tips to get your boat ready for winter!
- Run your boat once more. Pay attention to any issues that may need repair or replacement over the winter, especially with regards to the engine.
- Drain your boat. Remove the boat from the water and drain the bilge, water tanks, head, pipes and seacocks. Raise the bow to accelerate drainage if possible.
- Clean your boat. Thoroughly scrub the entirety of the boat with soap and water, from the hull to the interior. Remove any plant life and barnacles that have attached to the hull. Open any lockers, drawers, refrigerators and freezers and clean as well.
- Lubricate moving parts. Grease the steering system and control mechanisms. Lightly apply moisture-displacing lubricant on all moving metal parts such as hinges, latches and linkages.
- Remove and charge the battery. Take out the battery and completely charge it. Clean the battery terminals and lightly coat them with grease. Do the same for the battery cable ends. Store the battery in a warm, dry place, noting that you will not place it back into the boat until the spring.
- Remove sensitive materials. Anything and everything that does not form part of the vessel should be removed and stored away, including life jackets, fire extinguishers and flares. If the interior of the boat is fitted with organic materials such as fabric and leather, remove these as well to prevent mildew deposits.
- Seal exhaust ports. If your boat employs exhaust ports, seal them with duct tape to prevent pests from entering and clogging these components.
- Cover and store your boat. Protect your boat with a cover that can withstand even the most brutal weather episodes. For harsher environments, consider shrink-wrapping your boat to provide additional protection. Remove snow buildup on a regular basis. If possible, store your boat under a canopy or in a garage.
- Check every few weeks. Repair any problem areas or components over the winter. Uncover and inspect your boat for new problems that might arise during storage. Check the battery to see if it is still charged. Remove any water that might have pooled in lower areas of the boat.
- Change the boat oil: Water that has gotten into the oil can corrode the engine. By changing the boat oil before storing you can avoid any long-term damage while stored.
- Freshen up to the Coolant System: Like the oil, draining and refreshing the coolant system with anti-freeze can prevent freezing and corrosion of the engine.
- Fill that tank: This may seem counterintuitive, but condensation can build up in an empty tank causing corrosion and even worse damage if it freezes. Add some gas and fuel stabilizer to make sure your tank is good to go during winter boat storage.
- Pay attention to the interior: Organic materials like canvas, leather, or other fabrics should be removed to avoid mold and mildew. And any electronics that could freeze should be removed to avoid damage.
- Wax on, wax off: This step is especially important for storing your boat outside during the winter. Cleaning your boat inside and out and finishing with wax will help prevent rust on your boat’s body.
- Always use a cover: Finally, covering your boat will protect from elements like dirt, dust, and moisture.
After your boat is all clean and ready for storage, head on over to FishAye Trading Company to commemorate your summer fishing adventures! Our fall hours are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10am-5pm!
211 Main St., West Harwich, MA 02671