Winter Boat Storage Tips

Winter Boat Storage Tips
Storing a boat for the winter can be a sad task. But it can be even more sad if you don't take some proper storage precautions and items corrode, burst or otherwise go bad. Some winter boat storage tips will help, especially draining or refreshing all fluids as well as making sure all things that could corrode are removed.


Leaving a boat full of tepid fluids is only asking for trouble. Do a full oil change and install a new oil filter. Also drain all the transmission fluid, if applicable, and replace it with a fresh batch. Two camps heed the fuel advice: one says to completely drain the fuel tank; the other says to fill up the tank and mix in a fuel additive. Go with whatever your boat dealer recommends.


Grimy filters can be as detrimental as grimy fluids. In addition to the new oil filter, install a new or freshly cleaned fuel filter, fuel tank pick-up screen, carburetor fuel screen and flame arrestor.


Drain water from hoses where it could get trapped and corrode or freeze. Remove the hoses or, at the least, the hose plugs so no water gets trapped. Water draining includes the cooling system, raw water pump, transmission cooler and engine circulation pump. Clean and store all hoses and attachments inside the boat so you can find them in the spring.

Battery and Spark Plugs

Because the boat will be idle for several months, remove items that could corrode. Remove the battery and store it in a clean, dry place where it won't freeze. Boats can be stored with old spark plugs, instead of new ones, so the new ones won't corrode or become fouled.

Finishing touches

A few more tasks complete your boat's winterization. Lubricate any cables -- such as the steering, shift and throttle cables -- as well as the trailer wheel bearings. Clean the boat's exterior and interior. Interior cleaning should involve applying a liquid protector on the seats, engine cover and other surfaces that need it. Wash and wax the boat's exterior and, once dry, tape down the exhaust flappers so critters don't crawl in. A boat cover provides the best protection during the winter months.

Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski

Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.

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