As we edge closer to the winter months, this is the perfect time for boat owners to start thinking about how to properly safeguard their vessel from cold weather. Winter can cause damage to marine property if the right precautions aren’t taken. So, get ready to winterize even if you are in an area that experiences milder winters. The process will protect the engine, electronics and all the other components of the craft.
There are mainly three ways to store boats. Out of the following methods, the best option is indoors as it is climate-controlled, but if that isn’t an option for you, other methods can be equally safe if done right. Mariner Exchange offers some great tips on storing a boat:
- At the Marina – whether the vessel is stored on the marina, a boatyard or outside your home, a sufficient support system is essential. Be careful where you store your boat, avoiding trees, sloping roofs, inclines, etc.
- On the Water – to keep water out, close all thru-hull openings, gate valves and seacocks, and make sure all water is drained from the hose. Using dock lines and spring lines, tie the boat to pilings.
- Indoors – you can store in a storage facility, garage, or a shed. Make sure a dry storage rack can properly support the vessel keeping in mind the hull design. Ensure the area is temperature regulated and sealed to avoid pests like mice.
Regardless of the storing method, a boat cover should be a good fit, well supported and installed to avoid damage to the boat. Such damages can include rubbing, shredding, tearing and collapsing. Stay away from homemade tarps. Consider the boat design when selecting a boat cover – plastic tarp, generic/custom synthetic or canvas cover or shrink wrapping. Refer to Mariner Exchange’s article on things to keep in mind while using a cover.
Engines are particularly at risk of freezing, leading to a cracked engine block or a cracked oil cooler. Change the oil and filter, fill the fuel tanks to 95%, add fuel stabilizer, fill water strainers and antifreeze, and replace batteries on the marine charger.
Boat ownership is a big investment, and we don’t want you to have any unpleasant surprises come springtime!