Winter Boat Storage
The weather is turning cooler, and one aspect of self storage Dickinson residents should consider is boat storage. There are many ways to properly store your boat for winter, and how you choose to do it is a personal choice, whether it’s storing it in a shelter in your own backyard, shrink wrapping it and keeping it at the boatyard, storing it at an indoor facility that specializes in boats, or in self storage. Of course, no matter how you store your boat, the most important thing to do is to properly winterize it first.
- Clean your boat first, and repair any damages. A thorough cleaning will keep you from discovering spills and terrible odors when you take it out of storage in the spring; cleaning it will also alert you to anything that’s damaged, broken, or excessively worn. Make minor repairs as needed, so that small problems don’t get worse while the boat is sitting in storage, and once the boat is clean, apply rust inhibitor to the steering and control cables and on the metal hardware.
- Remove your electronics. Electronics will fare better if they are removed and stored in a safe, dry, warm place.
- Be conscious of the risk of mildew. Remove and store cushions, curtains, sails, personal flotation devices; prop lockers and drawers open; and empty the refrigerator. Consider a dehumidifier when you are using self storage. Dickinson humidity can get pretty high, even in the winter, so do whatever you can to keep moisture out of your boat, and promote good air flow.
- Perform preventive maintenance, to keep your boat ship–shape. Drain fluid from the manifolds, engine blocks, water pumps, coolers, port-a-potty, fresh water tank, and hot water heater. Drain the gear case, and fill it with lubricants, and add nontoxic antifreeze to the water tank, hot water heater, and port-a-potty, as well as the cooling system and supply lines for the water faucets and shower. Fill the gas tank, adding stabilizer to preserve the gas and prevent damage, and run the engine for about fifteen minutes so that the stabilizer will reach the fuel lines. Then change the oil while the engine is warm, taking care to replace the oil filter. Change the transmission fluid, remove the spark plugs, use fogging oil on the cylinders, and wipe down the engine with a towel sprayed with fogging oil or WD-40. Disconnect the battery cables and remove the battery, cleaning it thoroughly and applying a light coating of grease to the terminal ends of the batter and cables before storing the battery in a safe, dry place, off of concrete. Make sure to keep it charged, by using a trickle charger.
- Go over the boat from stem to stern! Inspect the stern drive thoroughly, removing any plants or barnacles. If your stern drive has a rubber boot, check it for cracks and holes. Grease all fittings and check your fluid levels. Sand and repaint the bottom of the boat, to prevent rust, and make sure the bilges are clean and dry, using soap, hot water, and s stiff brush to clean up any oil spills. When the bilges are clean, spray them with moisture displacing lubricant, and then prevent water from freezing by adding antifreeze.
- Cover your boat. This is extremely important, even if you’re keeping it safe in self storage. Dickinson boat owners have a wealth of places to find high quality boat covers, so make sure you have the best cover possible, with no rips or tears.
- Check your owner’s manual, to make sure there’s nothing you’ve forgotten. It’s best to be extremely thorough when winterizing your boat, because most insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by lack of maintenance. If you have any doubts or questions, you’d do well to consult a professional.
By storing your boat properly, you’ll make sure it is ready for you to enjoy next summer. For self storage, Dickinson residents have an excellent option in Storage Choice. With climate controlled units, easy access, and state of the art security, Storage Choice offers you peace of mind, no matter what you’re storing. Visit the website for more information, or, for a deeper connection, join the online community on Facebook and Twitter.