Many boat insurance policies do not cover damage from neglect or lack of maintenance so it’s a good idea to put your boat in storage throughout the long winter months. It should be removed from the water and placed in an undercover storage facility where the climate is monitored.
Before entering the boat storage facility in Canton Ohio you should double check your owner’s manual for any suggestions for winterizing your boat, including the motor.
Winterizing the engine before boat storage
You should run the engine in order to warm it up and then change the oil. This then allows impurities to be removed with the oil. The oil filter should be changed at this time too. The engine should then be flushed out with fresh water. Antifreeze should be circulated via the manifold through the use of a pickup hose coming from the water pump to a container of antifreeze. The engine should be started so that the antifreeze can be circulated until water begins to exit through the exhaust. The method used will depend on if your engine is raw water cooled or the cooling system is controlled by an enclosed fresh water cooling facility. The transmission oil should be changed as well. If your engine operates on gas the spark plugs should be removed and fogging oil should be sprayed into all of the cylinders. The engine should also be wiped down with a clean dry rag which has been sprayed with either WD-40 or some fogging oil.
Wintering a stern drive before boat storage
Before your boat is moved to its boat storage facility the stern drive should be thoroughly checked and any barnacles or marine plant life should be cleaned off the lower unit. The gear case should be drained of oil and checked for build-up of excessive moisture. If moisture appears to be present, the seals could be leaking and should therefore be repaired before the engine is used again. If the stern drive contains a rubber boot, it should be checked for pinholes or cracks. All fittings should be greased and fluid levels checked in the hydraulic steering or the lift pumps.
Wintering an outboard engine before boat storage
The engine should be flushed out with fresh clean water connected to the raw water pickup. The water should all be drained out and the engine washed down thoroughly with soapy water before a fresh water rinse takes place. The fuel hoses should be disconnected and the engine run until it stops. It is important that all the fuel is drained out of the carburetor as a way of preventing the build-up of any possible deposits from evaporated fuel. Fogging oil should be applied to the cylinders so as to lubricate the pistons and cylinder walls. Water resistant grease should be applied to the propeller shaft and its threads. The gear oil should be changed in the lower unit. Once these jobs have been completed the engine’s exterior should either be polished with wax or lubricated lightly.
Fuel treatment before boat storage
It is sensible to fill the fuel tank, which will help to avoid condensation build up throughout the winter months. A fuel stabilizer can be added too but you must ensure the instructions on the container are carefully followed.
The bilges should be left dry and clean before boat storage takes place and soap and hot water should be used to remove any oil spills. When you have cleaned the bilges they should be sprayed with a lubricant that displaces moisture.
Fresh water system treatment before boat storage
The fresh water tank should be completely drained along with the hot water heater. The hot water heater should be isolated by disconnecting any connecting lines. These lines should be linked together and non-toxic antifreeze should be pumped into the system and should dribble out of all the taps and the shower head.
Treatment of the boat’s interior before boat storage takes place
This is the time when all valuables such as electronics should be removed. Flares, fire extinguishers, and fenders should be removed for checking, cleaning, updating and maintaining. All lockers and drawers should be cleaned thoroughly. Cushions should be tilted to enable air circulation which will help to prevent mold build up. The freezer and refrigerator should be opened and cleaned. If you store your boat in a boat storage facility that is climate controlled, this will ensure minimum build up of mildew.
The hull and boat storage
Once the boat has been removed from the water, the hull should be pressure washed. Barnacle build up should be removed from the hull’s surface as well as from the propeller and shaft, rudder, trim tab and struts. All thru-hulls should be cleaned as well as any attached strainers. Sea cocks should be opened so that any remaining water will drain out. Once the hull is clean it should be checked for blisters and the area above the water line can be waxed to prevent dust build up. At this point the boat’s batteries can be removed and taken home where they can be placed on a trickle charger.
If you follow the guidelines above you should expect a trouble free boating season when you remove your boat from your chosen boat storage facility.