Winter Boat Storage Tips.
Now that the boating season in Lake George, NY has come to a close it’s that fun time of year when we take that final cruise down the lake and trailer it out for the winter. While most boaters have a process in place come winter time, we wanted to offer up some of our experience for those new boat owners looking for steps to prepare their boat for winter storage.
Please note, Dockside Landing Marina storage includes haul-outs, draining, boat engine winterization, shrink wrapping, fuel stabilization and more for all owners who chose to store their boat for the winter on our facilities.
Tip 1: Clean and Empty Your Boat
After you’ve lifted your boat out of the water for winter, you’re going to want to give it a nice cleaning before you bring it in for yearly storage. Your boat goes through a lot during the summer, so now that it’s out of the water it’s a great time to give the hull of your boat a nice scrub down to remove all the algae, dirt and grime that builds up while it docked for the summer.
Another great thing to do, is create a checklist of all the spots to look through within your boat. Check under your seat cushions for any extra towels, swim suits or clothing items that might have been left behind. We suggest taking your newer life preservers as well and storing them in your house or garage during the winter, this way they don’t build up any moisture from being left in your boat.
If your boat has a under cabin, make sure to go through all of your cabinets, beds and bathrooms and clear out anything that may freeze or go bad during the winter months. Make sure to look in those higher cabinets for any left-over food or opened bags of chips! You don’t want to come back next summer to find a moldy bag of Cheetos, or even worse a nest of mouse because they found a nice cozy spot with free food!
Tip 2: Look for Dents & Scrapes
After you’ve lifted your boat from the water and before you drop it off for storage. Check the underside of your boat for scrapes and dents. Examine the side walls and all your joints to ensure there are not any major gaps or questionable spots you may want to ask your local boat shop about. Basically, this clears you of any liability if you find damage to your boat after a winter of storage.
Tip 3: Winterize Your Boat Engine
Winterizing your boat engine is one of the most important steps when getting your boat ready for winter storage. Without the proper preparations to your engine, you risk the possibility of freezing or rust during storage. At Dockside Landing, boat engine winterization is included with our storage packages and is performed by our team of experienced boat mechanics.
While these are some of our top processes, we highly suggest you contact our team or a local boat service shop to professionally winterize your engine.
- Run your engine to bring it to operating temperature
- Preferable your boat will be out of the water during this step, so connect your boat to a hose to offer a full supply of water to the engine
- Treat your fuel system
- If storing your boat with fuel that doesn’t contain alcohol, top off the tanks with fresh fuel (not containing alcohol) and add fuel stabilizer to treat your fuel. The stabilizer keeps the gas fresh for the upcoming year
- If storing your boat without fuel, completely empty your tanks but add stabilizer to any fuel that may remain in the tank
- Check & replace fuel filter
- Bring engine to operating temperature
- Check fuel filter for leaks and make any necessary fixes
- Run engine for 15 minutes to help fuel stabilizer enter engine’s fuel system
- Replace oil & inspect spark plugs
- Give your engine an oil change
- Check your spark plugs and add lubrication. Replace if necessary
- Drain tank and water lines
- Inspect and replace any water lines
- Add few ounces of antifreeze
- Fog the engine
- Fogging oil prevents corrosion of inboard and outboard engines that are stored for long periods of time
Tip 4: Shrink Wrapping Your Boat
While most boat owners may store their boats at home using tarps, one of the best ways to ensure your boat is fully sealed, elevated and pressurized is to get it shrink wrapped. Shrink wrapping a boat can be extremely difficult and we suggest using a professional, over a do-it-yourself kit. Shrink wrapping is included in our boat storage packages, for both covered and non-covered storage options.
Your boat is a luxury and an investment every year, using a do-it-yourself shrink wrapping kit is fine, but if you over heat at any time, you risk causing large damage to your boat. Always seek the help of a professional when trying to find the best way to seal up your boat for the winter.
Tip 5: Storing Your Boat for Winter
Boat storage is just another piece to boat ownership and is an important to take boat storage into consideration if you are a first-time boat owner or thinking about buying a boat for the first time. Marina’s and boat storage facilities can fill fast, so please take the time to consider all available options to avoid stressful situations come fall.
- Professional Covered Storage: Many marinas and boat dealers offer their customers the option for covered, at a cost … there’s always a cost! Anyway, there are many benefits to using covered storage for your boat, including:
- Your boat is placed under a covered roof, preventing it from getting damaged by fallen tree limbs
- Your boat is professionally transported to the marinas storage facility and lifted into a secure storage space
- Marians will include additional servicing like haul-outs & engine winterization
- Professional Outdoor Storage: As a cheaper alternative to covered storage, marinas will often offer outdoor storage as well. While this means your boat will still be in contact with snow, it is still off of your lawn and away from people.
- Outdoor storage from a professional is normally in a large lot, cleared of trees and other items that could potentially damage your boat
- Shrink wrapping is normally included with outdoor storage, so you know it will be properly sealed with an elevated pitch to help keep snow from collecting on top of the tarp
- Once summer rolls back around, marinas will typically help prepare your boat for the new season
- Self-Storage: If you’re storing your boat yourself you are going to want to follow your boater’s owner’s manual, as well as the steps we’ve laid out in this blog to ensure you store your boat properly and out of a. Self-storage is a cheap alternative to professional storage, but please consider the following:
- Clear the space and ensure it is on a level ground
- Place blocks behind your trailer’s wheels, so it does not roll backwards
- Check the area above. Tree limbs and branches love to fall and break because of the weight of the snow, so make sure no major tree limbs can fall and damage your boat