As the first freeze and snowfall are already upon many of us we know that some of our favorite warm weather activities are well behind us until next year. If you haven’t already stored away your boats and personal watercraft for the year it is time to stop procrastinating. If you don’t take some proper boat storage precautions items corrode, burst, fail, or just go bad in extreme cold temperatures. Proper boat storage, especially draining fluids and making sure parts that can corrode are removed, can save you a lot of heartache and money next spring.

You are just asking for trouble if you don’t drain the fluids. Some manufacturers recommend completely draining the fuel tank, while others want you to fill it up and mix in a winter/storage additive – ask your dealer or consult your manufacturer’s website to be sure. An oil & oil filter change along with draining all the transmission fluid, if applicable, is advised. Changing or cleaning all of your filters (fuel filter, fuel tank pick-up screen, carburetor fuel screen, etc.) now is also a good idea so.

Water left in hoses can freeze or cause corrosion so be sure to drain water from hoses where this could happen including the engine circulation pump, transmission cooler, raw water pump, cooling system, etc. Clean the hoses and store them somewhere they will not be subjected to freezing temperatures and be sure to remember where you put them! Now would also be a good time to remove the battery to store it in a dry place that also won’t be subject to freezing temperatures. If you are utilizing a self storage unit for the storage of your boat or personal watercraft you may want to look at a climate controlled self storage unit – the price is normally a little bit more but your boat will be safe from extreme temperatures while in storage.

Clean and wax your boat one last time before placing it in storage. If you are storing the boat outdoors a boat cover may be a good investment. If you are storing your boat outside you may also want to remove the drain plug. When removing the drain plug it may be a good idea to replace it with a mesh screen so water can get out but pests can’t get in.

If you have other questions about storing your boat consult your manufacturer or your local marine center and if you are a do-it-yourselfer, your local marine center will most likely provide winterization services.