Prep your Boat for Winter

For the most part, boating is a hobby for the warm months of spring and summer. However, a boat is not something that you can simply ignore when winter rolls around if you want to keep it in optimum condition. There are important factors to take into account and crucial tasks to attend to when it comes to proper winter boat storage. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about preparing a boat for winter storage in order to help you keep your boat safe and secure all winter long.

Importance of Properly Storing Your Boat for the Winter

Anytime you are storing your boat for an extended period of time, it is important to take certain precautions to protect it from incurring damage. This is doubly true for storing a boat in the winter months when the outdoor elements can become especially harsh. Anyone living in Canada knows just how nasty our winters can sometimes get, and the potential for costly damage is very real if you don’t store your boat properly.

Just a few of the issues that failing to properly prepare a boat for winter storage can cause include components that burst or crack due to the fluid inside them freezing, water or impurity buildup in the boat’s fuel tank that can damage its engine, and rust and discoloring due to prolonged exposure to the elements. Thankfully, all of these potential problems can be mitigated with the right approach to winter boat storage.

How to Prepare Your Boat for Winter Storage

At Clark’s Marina, we are dedicated to doing everything we can to help boat owners keep their boats safe and free of damage all year long. To help you prepare your boat for winter storage in the most optimum way possible, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide of everything you need to do before you put your boat away for the winter. If you attend to every task in the guide, you can rest assured that your boat will be free of damage and ready for use when the winter season is over and the weather starts to warm.

Clean the Boat

Before you do anything else, you need to clean your boat. Keeping your boat clean is always an important part of preventing damage, especially if you are planning to store it for an extended period of time. Remember to clean the outside, inside, trim, and hardware. You should also take the time to give it a fresh wax because this will help it resist the elements. While cleaning your boat, check for blisters, cracks, and other signs of damage. Try to get any issues repaired before you store it for the winter.

Change the Oil

Prior to winter boat storage, it’s a good idea to change the boat’s oil and oil filters. You should also use fogging oil to help you protect the boat’s engine during the winter months. With the engine running, spray fogging oil into the air intakes. Then, while the engine is slightly warm, conduct an oil change making sure to use the right oil, and remember that there are filters on the outboards, inboard engines, and the stern drive that will need to be changed as well. Changing your boat’s oil and oil filters will prevent acid from corroding the engine and will also help you get in a nice routine of keeping your boat’s oil fresh and engine protected.

Flush The Cooling System

Take a few minutes to flush the cooling system using freshwater. This will remove dirt, salt, and other debris, preventing corrosion. If your boat is in a colder environment, run some antifreeze through the system to protect it against ice.

Winterize The Fuel System

Next, take a look at the fuel tank and top it off. The goal is to remove any opportunity for condensation to build up. Take this opportunity to change the fuel filter, and think about adding a fuel stabilizer to protect the fuel system this winter. Adding a fuel stabilizer for winter boat storage will help dramatically reduce the potential for engine damage.

Disconnect the Battery

If you leave your battery connected, the power may dissipate, killing it. Prevent this from happening by disconnecting it and topping it off with distilled water. Think about running the battery a few times this winter as well. This will ensure it’s ready for the next summer season.

Lubricate Moving Parts

The steering system and any other mechanisms need to be lubricated before the boat is stored. This will protect the boat as the weather cools off. Even though some gears, washers, and pistons might be small, they can serve critical roles. Therefore, check the boat carefully and lubricate all mechanical parts.

Perform a Final Check

It is a good idea to go through the boat one more time before you cover it for storage. Remove any items and toys that might be left in the boat. These could be needed during the winter season, and they might increase the risk of moisture damage. Lastly, check once more for any other signs of damage. This includes corrosion, leaks, cracks, dings, and issues with the mechanical system. It is critical to catch these issues now instead of next summer when they might have developed into major problems.

Cover the Boat

Finally, use a protective cover, such as winter boat storage shrink wrap, to make sure your boat is protected against dust and dirt while it is in storage. It is important to use a climate-controlled storage facility, when possible, to prevent the boat from taking damage during the winter season. Either way, knowing how to cover a boat for winter storage is an essential final step in keeping your boat protected.

What is the Best Winter Boat Storage Option?

boats at dusk during fall
Depending on where you are located and the type of boat that you are needing to store, there are several options you might have available for winter boat storage. The first option is to simply store your boat outdoors in your yard or driveway. While this is the most convenient and affordable option, it does not offer the same level of protection as indoor storage. Having a covered boat sitting in your yard all winter long is also not an appealing idea to many people. Another outdoor storage option is to store your boat outdoors at the dock using a boat lift to lift it out of the water. This is a very convenient option since all you will have to do is lower your boat back into the water when you are ready to use it again. However, it is a little more expensive than storing your boat on your own property since you will have to pay a marina for this type of storage, and it still does not provide the same degree of protection as indoor storage.

There are also a variety of indoor storage options. Indoor boat storage comes with the benefit of completely protecting your boat from the elements, but it can be a little pricey depending on the option that you choose. If you happen to have a large enough garage, you can store your boat indoors at no cost. If this isn’t an option, though, you will have to pay for storage at either an indoor dry rack or a climate-controlled storage facility. At an indoor dry rack, boats are stored in warehouse-like buildings where the boats are placed on racks and stacked up to six boats high. Purchasing space at a climate-controlled storage facility is the indoor storage option that offers the highest degree of protection and convenience, but it is also the most expensive.

Indoor Boat Storage

Indoor boat storage is a great option to consider if you are concerned about completely shielding your boat from the winter elements. However, indoor boat storage is certainly a little more pricey than outdoor boat storage, and it also isn’t always the most convenient option since it requires you to transport your boat to and from the storage facility.

Outdoor Boat Storage

Outdoor boat storage is more convenient and affordable than indoor boat storage, but it does expose your boat more to the harsh winter elements. If you do choose outdoor storage this winter, it is especially important to make sure that you properly winterize your boat and prep it for long-term storage.

Boat Winter Storage Cost

Winter boat storage rates can vary dramatically depending on the storage option that you choose. If you decide to store your boat on your own property, you won’t have any expenses at all. However, this assumes that your boat does not incur any damage along the way. In many cases, trying to save money by storing your boat yourself can lead to repairs that are much more costly than paying for indoor storage. On average, storing your boat at an indoor storage facility costs between $50 to $200 per foot of boat for the entire winter season. This means that if you have a 20-foot boat, you can expect to pay somewhere in the range of $1,000 to $4,000 to store your boat for the entire winter.

Reliable Indoor Boat Storage at Clark’s Marina

If you are looking for indoor boat storage, then Clark’s Marina has you covered! When you decide to store your boat in an indoor storage facility this winter, you can look forward to a number of benefits. Some of the biggest benefits include:

  1. Your boat will be kept safe from the winter elements
  2. Your boat will retain its resale value should you decide to sell it later
  3. The chances of suffering damage or requiring repairs next summer will be minimal

We are proud of our state-of-the-art indoor boat storage facility. We have the tools necessary to keep your boat protected. This means making sure that your boat’s upholstery, engines, fiberglass, and more are protected against the winter temperatures of Southeastern Ontario, which can be unpredictable. Don’t let your boat fall prey to the winter weather of Ontario! Trust our indoor boat storage facility to protect your boat from stem to stern!

Professional Boat Winterization Services

Before you store your boat this winter, make sure that your boat is updated on all of its service and winterization needs. Don’t let any of your boat’s maintenance tasks lapse during the winter season! Our professionals have the training and experience necessary to make sure that your boat will be ready for the summer season.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with all of your boating needs, trust the friendly team from Clark’s Marina. We place the needs of our customers ahead of our own. This includes you! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get the most out of your boat!

Contact Clark’s Marina Today for All of Your Winter Boat Storage Needs

Preparing your boat for winter storage is an essential part of keeping your expensive investment safe from harm this winter season. Whether you are looking for reliable indoor storage or professional winterization services, you can count on the boating professionals at Clark’s Marina. To learn more about how Clark’s Marina can help ensure that your boat is kept in pristine condition all winter long, be sure to contact us today.