Our guide to Boat Storage - In Winter!
If you're like us, winter and boating don't exactly mix together very well . Whilst the brave ones in the waterskiing world soldier through the arctic water temperatures, we prefer to give the trusty tow boat some TLC and a bit of a rest. So much to our dismay, we put her into boat storage for the worst of the winter, counting down the minutes till the warmer days come, so we can embark on yet another summer of glorious boating.
1. Give Her a Service
The winter lay-up is the perfect time for a some scheduled maintenance - fresh oil and filter will ensure no contaminants are left sitting in the engine over the winter months. Its also good practice to replace the impellers in the water pump - these have a tendency to seize up over winter storage.
The best part of all the above is that once those warmer days come round, the boat will be good to go!
2. Get Greasy
Become good friends with a can of WD40, and big a jar of trailer grease. Give all moving parts throughout the boat a good coating of WD - it will help prevent any lack-of-use-induced seizing and also help keep the rust away. Don't neglect your trailer either! Re-grease all nipples, couplings, the jockey wheel and even take the hibernation as an excuse to replace wheel bearings (just make sure they are water-tight marine ones!).
3. Maintain the Battery
One of two ways this can be done - ideally apply a good trickle charger to the battery full time (like our Noco Genius 3500, for example ;)), or alternatively simply disconnect the negative terminal (if storing outside pull the battery out completely and store in cool & dark place).
4. Dry it Out & Cover It Up
This is pretty straight forward - after your final wash for the season ensure the boat is complete dry by leaving it in the sun for a day or so before putting its cover on. Bonus points if your cover has a ventilation system. More bonus points and a gold start for using a dehumidifier under the cover!
5. Breathe Some Life Into Her
A semi-regular engine start & run-up to temperature will help keep the mechanical components ticking over, stimulate the fluid systems and and help identify any potential issues with the running gear. Once a month is good practice.
6. Keep Your Fuel Fresh
If you have a steel petrol tank, its always a wise idea to completely fill it up (to avoid any condensation forming), and then add a good fuel stabiliser, such as Penrite. This will prevent the fuel from going stale for up to 12 months. Alternatively you can completely drain the tank (if possible), however bare in mind that may make periodic engine start-ups somewhat difficult.
7. Save Some Insurance $$$
Definitely not taking her out on the water for a solid few months? Save some money by laying up your insurance! Just ensure it is still covered whilst in storage (in case of fire, theft or malicious damage). Marine insurance companies such as Club Marine offer this feature - ideal for those on a budget!
Disclaimer: Whilst we might claim ourselves as being storage experts, we are certainly are not claiming to be expert marine engineers! The above information is purely a general guide, based on our personal experiences in owning and storing boats. Always do your own research, and consult your Manufacturer or an Industry Expert on proper storage techniques :)