1. The staff at Premier Auto & Self Storage recommends that prior to removing your boat from the water, you take it out for one more trip. Make note of anything that needs to be repaired or replaced before you winterize your boat. If there's any hull damage, fix it ASAP because cracks can get worse during storage.
2. Get it spic and span. Once it's hauled out, remove the bilge drain plug immediately. Then give your boat's hull and decks a thorough scrubbing to remove gunk, grime, slime and barnacles. We recommend cleaning all your thru-hulls and strainers and opening the seacocks so any water can drain out. Leave plenty of time for everything to dry before it goes into storage. This will go faster if you raise the bow of the boat to allow as much water as possible to drain while you perform the other storage preparations. Give the interior a thorough cleaning, too. Clear out the refrigerator lockers, and any other materials that can spoil or mildew over winter. Leave interior lockers open for more air circulation.
3. Avoid engine trouble. When winterizing your boat, our staff recommends topping off your gas tank and adding a gas stabilizer to reduce the possibility of condensation. We say to always run your engine for approximately 15 minutes to make sure the additives reach the gas already in the fuel lines and engine. We also advise changing your engine oil and replacing all filters. Also remember to check hoses, belts and clamps, clean your strainers and leave your thru-hulls open. While you're at it, flush the coolant system with water, if necessary, and add antifreeze. Our staff here at Premier Auto & Self Storage warns not to mix ethylene-glycol and propylene-glycol antifreeze formulas as they have different freeze and boiling points. Thoroughly flush one before using the other. But we also highly recommend that you leave the entire process of engine and fuel-system winterization to a qualified mechanic especially when planning for boat storage during winter months.
4. Clean out the head and other areas. While that certified expert is prepping your engine and fuel system for storage, you'll have more time to clean out the head. Be sure to flush it with plenty of fresh water and to pump out your holding tanks.
We recommend running non-toxic antifreeze through the intake lines, y-valve, macerator and discharge hose. We also suggest that you'll want to drain your fresh water tanks and water heater, and then you should add a non-toxic antifreeze to your water tank and pump it through the plumbing, including ice makers, A/C pumps, sump pumps, fish wells, bilge pumps, and that shower on the transom.
5. The staff at Premier Auto & Self Storage recommends that you remove electronics, including your battery and store it all in a warm, dry place. Clean the battery terminals to remove corrosion and grease them lightly.
• Phew! Preparing your boat for storage is a lot of work, but its all part of routine maintenance. Besides, when spring comes, while your boating buddies are dealing with boat damage brought on by winter, you'll be the first one back in the water.