Ready to store your boat for the off season? Remember these simple tips to keep your boat in excellent shape for years to come. Here’s how to store your boat!
Drain the Boat
To protect the water-holding components of the boat, you should drain the bilge, water tank, head, pipes, and any other areas that hold water. If possible, raise the bow of the boat to ensure thorough drainage, and spray the bilge with a moisture-displacing chemical.
Throughout the boating season, your vessel has gone through a lot of salt and grime, which now needs to be removed before storage. Use soap and warm water to thoroughly clean the boat from front to back and top to bottom. Leave some time for the boat to dry completely before moving to the next step.
Wax the Hull
Whether you’re storing your boat inside or outside, this step is important. Use a marine wax to help prevent rust and corrosion on your boat’s hull, giving it a clean shine while also protecting it for years to come.
Flush the Engine
The engine needs to be cleaned and flushed to remove saltwater and grime. Refill the coolant system, and briefly run the engine to loosen any impurities. Replace the oil and the filters, and apply a fogging oil to the carburetor and spark plug holes. You may even want to remove and store dry belts to prevent them from snapping under constant tension. Once complete, add some gas and fuel stabilizer to protect the engine over the winter.
Lubricate Accessible Moving Parts
The steering system and control mechanisms should be greased before storage. Gently apply a lubricant that displaces moisture on all moving metal components, including hinges, links, and latches.
Detach and Clean the Propeller
Take the propeller off the motor and remove any weeds, fishing line, and debris that may have collected. Check for damage on the prop itself, and look for any issues on the prop shaft. Lubricate and return the prop for winter storage.
Pull the Battery
If you’re storing the boat outdoors in a cold environment, this is especially important. Take out the battery, give it a complete charge, and lightly coat the terminals and cable ends with grease. Store the battery in a warm, safe location for the winter.
Remove Random Items
Lifejackets, fire extinguishers, electronics, and anything else that is not a permanent part of the boat should be removed. Go through the boat and look under seats, around corners, and in all storage areas for loose items. (Just remember to bring them back before you start the next boating season!)
Cover the Boat and Store in a Safe Location
Now you can cover the boat and take it to your favorite storage location. Shrink wrapping is one option, but canvas covers are a popular choice as well.
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