Boat ownership is a big responsibility. If you want to be sure that your boat is in good condition, you must make sure to take the time to prepare it properly before you put it into storage. Failure to do so can result in serious problems down the line. So, instead of just pulling your boat out of the water and calling it a day, follow these simple tips to make sure that your boat is well taken care of – and in perfect condition the next time you are ready to use it.
- Flush out the oil tank completely to clear it of water and debris that might cause corrosion. Then replace the filter and put in new oil. (It may be best to leave this to a mechanic if you’re not sure how to do it.)
- Drain out the coolant and flush the tank with water. Then, dilute fresh antifreeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions and refill it.
- While your engine is turning over (without starting it) spray it with defogger, making sure to get the carburetor and spark plug holes.
- Loosen or remove your drive belts so they don’t crack with the stress of being stored under tension.
- Grease all of the control and steering mechanisms so they will operate smoothly when you get your boat out of storage.
- Protect your battery by disconnecting it and topping it off with distilled water. It’s a good idea to recharge your battery periodically over the winter so that it’s ready to go when you need it.
- Fill your gas tank up to the top to prevent condensation from forming on the inside of the tank. It’s also a good idea to add a fuel stabilizer. Once it’s in, run the engine for at least 15 minutes to make sure that the stabilizer is distributed properly.
- Take a few minutes to seal the exhaust ports of your boat to prevent pests from getting in and making a home there while your boat is in storage. You don’t need fancy equipment to do this – just use duct tape.
- Drain all of the water tanks and run antifreeze through the water pipes to make sure they don’t freeze.
- Removes all electronics as well as any materials that might be vulnerable to the cold, including leather, canvas, and other fabrics.
- Clean the boat thoroughly, inside and out. As you work, check for cracks in the hull or any other damage. If you fix those things before you store it – or during the off-season – then you’ll be one step ahead of most other people when spring arrives.
- Wax the exterior of the boat. This is an especially important step if you’ll be storing it outside, because the wax will help prevent corrosion.
- Finally, cover your boat. Putting on a cover will help to protect the boat from dirt, moisture, and other things that might cause damage or corrosion.
At all times, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are unsure about how to change the oil or care for your boat, then it makes sense to bring it to a boat mechanic who can do those things for you. The key thing to remember is that routine maintenance is essential if you want it to be ready when you take it out of boat storage.