5 Important Things to Remember When Storing Your Boat in the Off-Season

A collection of dry docked boats with protective covers.

Boating season is over and it’s time to store away your boat as the winter season sets in. It can be an arduous process, but a necessary one. Storing your boat properly requires careful thought and preparation. The first step is oftentimes deciding between wet or dry storage. The real brunt of the work comes after, and if your boat is to be in good shape for the next boating season, storage has to be done correctly. Here are some important things to remember when it comes to boat storage in the off-season.

1. Give it One Last Run

The first stage involves giving your boat one final run before storing it. You want to listen for any mechanical issues that may compromise your boat. You could make this your final trip of the season, but use the time to also observe and identify issues that may require repairs or parts that may need to be replaced before storage. Don’t disregard small issues because a boat sitting out of operation during the cold season can make a minor situation worse. Do the necessary maintenance work before putting your boat for storage.

2. Do a Cleaning Job

It helps to give your boat a good cleaning before storage. Marine soap and water may be all you need to scrub your boat. Be sure to flush out the livewell and rid it of any biological debris that can build up and cause a foul odor over time or draw pests if not cleaned. Check other storage compartments for dirt and grime as well. Empty and clean them to prevent rust, corrosion and mold buildup. Ensure that the boat dries properly. After drying, apply a fresh coat of wax to the boat and polish well.

3. Drain the Water

The engine is one of the prime spots for water to get trapped. Drain the engine of water to prevent moisture accumulation that often leads to corrosion, especially during the cold months. Release water from the lower unit by pulling the drain plug. Make sure you don’t leave any water in the lower unit – that’s the biggest nemesis of bass boats. If you’re storing it outside, tilt your motor down to drain all the water and keep rainwater from building up inside the prop hub. Accumulated water can cause rust, wear and tear, and discoloration.

4. Winterize the Engine

You want to avoid a buildup of condensation during the off-season while your boat is in storage. Avoid this by topping off the fuel tank and also change the lower unit oil if you haven’t done an annual change. To prevent the accumulation of varnish and gum, add a marine fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank. Be sure to give the engine a quick run for the stabilizer to work throughout the system. You can take your speed boat to a speedboat dealership where they can service it for you before storage.

5. Cover and Put Boat Up For Storage

The winter season can bring some harsh weather conditions and temperatures that can damage your boat. Protect your boat from harsh weather associated with the winter season by using a cover. If you have access to a canopy or a garage with space for your boat, store it there.

Storing your boat during the offseason should be done with care and consideration. Your boat is an investment that you should protect and store it the proper way. It’s important to prepare it for storage by draining it, scrubbing it, winterizing the engine and fixing any mechanical issues that may have developed. For added protection, cover your boat before placing it in the chosen storage space.

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