Steps for Storing Your Boat for Winter

Oh, the weather outside isn’t frightful — yet. But it will be. And when the cold front comes through, you’ll want to help your boat hibernate for the winter, so that it will be well-rested and ready to go when warmer weather rolls back around.

Below, we share some of the initial steps you should take to store your boat for winter. If you have any questions, our team would love to help! Give us a call and we can walk you through the proper process.


Clean the interior and exterior

The first thing you should do is thoroughly clean your boat inside and out.

Any standing water can be damaging to your boat, so it’s important that you dry your boat, too. Water or acids that have gotten into your oil can corrode the engine. Change the filter and flush it out so that no water remains, then add in new oil.

Unless you are storing your boat in the water, apply a layer of wax at the end to the boat’s exterior. Wax will prevent rust from corroding your boat’s body and is particularly important if you plan on storing your boat outside.


Check electrical systems and appliances

When it comes to your boat’s electrical systems, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, most electronics can be vulnerable to extreme cold temperatures and moisture, so your best bet is to unhook and remove any electronics from your boat for units that can be removed.

Your boat’s battery is especially vulnerable to damage from the cold. So be sure to disconnect your boat’s battery, if the boat does not have a battery switch, and top it off with distilled water. Charge it every so often in the off-season to make sure it’s good to go when you hook it back up to your boat.

Next, grease the joints of your steering and control mechanisms. This will help make sure that they are moving smoothly when it comes time to take your boat out again.


Keep your fuel in check

During the colder months, the threat of moisture in the air can cause condensation to build up in an empty tank, which in turn can cause corrosion or additional damage.

No matter the type of engine you have, it is advisable to change out the fuel filter and water separator, fill up the tank and add a fuel stabilizer to keep your gasoline from going stale and causing damage to your tank.


Use a cover

While this may seem like a no-brainer, you would be surprised how many people forget this step and leave their boat open to the elements during the off-season.

A boat cover is recommended for a wide range of reasons. It can protect your boat from dirt, dust, fallen debris and moisture. It can also protect your boat from fading. You’ll want to look for covers that are breathable, stain-, UV- and mildew-resistant and shed water well.

Once you’ve stored your boat for winter, the next step is to start counting down the days until you can take it out on the water again! Take this time to plan some adventures with your friends and family in the warmer months, and if you need any inspiration, our Hanckel Marine team is always happy to share our favorite spots around the Lowcountry.