Tips and Tools:
It’s always important to winterize your boat when it is not in use. If you prepare for winter properly, your boat will be ready for the marina the moment you’re ready to hit the water.
Follow these steps when winterizing and storing a boat:
Determine where the boat should be stored.
You can store the boat at your home or at a marina. But don’t forget that you also have a third choice: a storage facility. Some facilities provide covered storage for boats, others have open spaces. Some are even climate controlled. Choose the space that fits your needs best.
Clean and inspect your boat.
Make sure to clean the boat inside and out. As you do this, make sure to look for problems that need to be repaired. This is the perfect time to make sure your boat is in good shape. If you wait for the spring to repair your boat, you’ll have to delay the beginning of boating season and take your boat in for repair at the same time that everyone else is.
Keep the boat from rusting.
After the boat is clean, add a rust inhibitor to the boat’s cables and hardware. This will keep it from rusting. To keep the bottom of the boat from rusting, sand it and add a fresh coat of paint.
Take all removable items out of the boat.
Electronics should be stored in a safe, dry place. Cushions, curtains, sails, and life vests should be removed and properly packed. Empty your on-board refrigerator and clean it carefully. All fluids should be drained from manifold, engine blocks, water pumps, and coolers.
Add antifreeze, oil and fuel.
After filling the gas tank with a gas and a stabilizer, run your engine for about 15 minutes to ensure the stabilizer gets to the gas. Add antifreeze to the cooling system and to all water supply lines. Make sure to change both the oil and the oil filter.
Remove and care for the battery.
Disconnect the cables and remove the battery. Once the battery is removed, check it for any exterior damage. If you see any, repair or replace the battery immediately. If the battery is not damaged, secure the vent caps, and clean the battery with a cloth dipped in a baking soda and water solution. Scrub the battery, then grease the terminal ends with petroleum jelly. Store the battery in a cool, dry place.
Maintain the engine.
Change the transmission fluid, remove spark plugs, and wipe down the engine with WD-40.
Clean the stern drive.
Remove old plants and barnacles from the lower part of the stern drive. Make sure the stern drive is in good condition and that there are no cracks or holes. Grease the fittings and check the fluid levels.
Clean bilges with soap and hot water. Once they are clean, spray them with a moisture-displacing lubricant and add antifreeze to them.
Keep mildew away.
Open all drawers and cabinets for the duration of storage. This will keep mildew from forming. As an extra precaution, place open boxes of baking soda around the boat. This will absorb extra moisture.
Cover your boat.
Select a cover with good ventilation.
Following correct winterization procedures on your boat keeps it in great condition, saves money on repairs and allows you to get back in the water as soon as the season begins.
Even better? We have locations all over Illinois, so your belongings are never far from home.