As the warm summer months draw to a close and cooler temperatures begin to creep in, the time has come yet again to put away the boat for the winter. Rather than simply park the boat in a storage area, taking a few simple steps can prevent unnecessary damage to the boat’s mechanical systems.
Winterize Under the Hood
A lot can go wrong with a boat during the winter. Cooler temperatures can lead to a bevy of problems without the right preparation. Start by draining and replacing engine fluids, checking to ensure the fluids are not discolored or ‘milky’. This could indicate a problem with seals, which may need to be replaced. Ensure the gas tank is filled approximately half way and supplemented with a fuel conditioner that will help prevent oxidation. Finally, spray the engine with a light lubricant that will help protect it against corrosion.
Trailer and Electronics
If you have electronics on your boat, remove and store them in a climate-controlled area. Clean corrosion from the battery terminals, and disconnect any electrical connections to the batteries. Check the boat trailer, chains and winch mechanisms for signs of rust, and spray them with a corrosion and rust inhibitor. Most importantly, repack the bearings on your boat trailer to prevent them from rusting during the winter. Check the bearings themselves for signs of wear and replace them if necessary.
Storing a Boat
If possible, store your boat in a heated garage at a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If the boat must be stored outdoors, ensure it is protected from UV damage with a boat cover. Properly inflate the tires and consider elevating the axle off the ground to alleviate pressure on the tires. This may help prevent tires from developing flat spots from long periods of sitting. Alternatively, move the trailer forward a few inches every few weeks during winter to even out pressure on the tires.
Winter is a great time to inspect your boat for any problems, such as worn seals, hoses and burnt-out lights. It is also a good time to perform any major repairs, as you will not need the boat for several months. Finally, take the time to ensure your boater’s insurance is up to date and still meeting your needs. Contact our office to speak with a helpful insurance agent who can review your current policy and update it as needed.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms, and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.