As the weather cools down and boating season winds down here in Kenosha, it's time to start thinking about preparing your boat for winter storage. Properly winterizing and storing your boat is crucial for protecting it from damage during the off-season. Here at Great Lakes Yacht Sales, we want to ensure our customers' boats stay in pristine condition all winter long. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about boat winterization and using our indoor, outdoor and rack storage options. With the right preparation and storage plan, your boat will be ready to launch again next spring.
Drain the Water Systems
The first step in winterization is draining all water from the boat's systems to prevent freezing damage. Start by draining the freshwater system - open all faucets and showers and activate the pump to remove all water from tanks, plumbing and appliances. For hot water heaters, drain the tank along with water lines. Drain the head and holding tank completely. Disconnect hoses and clear all water from the washdown system. Lastly, make sure all bilge areas are dried out. Removing all water from systems prevents costly cracks and bursts over the winter.
Flush and Winterize the Engine
The engine requires special care to handle frigid temperatures. Start by running it long enough to get it fully warmed up and circulating engine oil. Then hook up to a flusher to rinse debris from the cooling system. Drain out all existing engine coolant and replace it with non-toxic RV antifreeze, which handles freezing temps. Run the antifreeze through all components of the cooling system. Add fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank to maintain gasoline quality. Spray fogging oil into the engine's cylinders to prevent corrosion. Disconnect and remove batteries to store indoors. A winterized engine stays protected from wear, rust and freezing all season long.
Protect the Exterior Surfaces
Your boat's exterior surfaces also need protection during winter months. Give the hull, decks and cockpit areas a thorough cleaning to remove grime that could lead to staining and corrosion. Apply a coat of wax to fiberglass surfaces for an added layer of protection. Coat metal fixtures with a corrosion inhibitor. Remove canvas enclosures and bimini tops, which can collect snow and pool water. Store these covered to prevent mold and mildew growth. Finish by installing winter covers specific to your boat's make and model that seal tightly to prevent water intrusion.
Use Proper Stands, Jacks and Blocking
An often overlooked aspect of winter storage is proper stands, jacks and blocking. This keeps the boat stable and prevents damage from freezing and thawing cycles. We recommend placing boats on fixed stands rather than trailers, which can suffer from tire dry rot and bearing corrosion. Stands should have adequate padding to prevent hull abrasions and be rated for the boat's weight. Here at Great Lakes Yacht Sales, we always make sure to use the proper supports in order to maintain the boat's structure while it is out of the water.
Choose Your Storage Option
Here at Great Lakes Yacht Sales, we provide indoor, heated storage as well as outdoor storage for the wintertime. Our indoor facilities can accommodate up to 65 foot boats. Our outdoor storage also allows us to accommodate another number of boats. Indoor storage provides the best protection from snow, rain, ice and extreme cold. Boats stay enclosed at stable temperatures with reduced humidity. Outdoor racks also properly support the boat while allowing the canvas cover to provide an outer shield. We help match your needs with the right storage setting.
Maintenance Checks and Spring Launch
Once the weather warms back up, you’ll be eager to get back out on the water. Storing your boat properly now sets up easy reactivation for next boating season. Prior to launch, you should check the systems to ensure antifreeze levels have stayed consistent and you might also want to change the engine oil and filters. You will most likely need to charge the boat’s batteries fully and confirm proper voltage. Remove winter coverings and wash the boat. Do a thorough inspection of all systems to identify any new issues that developed over winter. With boats properly winterized and stored, launching in spring is fast and hassle-free.
Winterization and storage are critical steps in preserving your boat during the off-season. At Great Lakes Yacht Sales, our trained technicians can handle winterization for you or provide you with guidance as needed. With indoor and outdoor storage options, we make safe storage a smooth and convenient experience. Contact us today to schedule winterization for your boat and reserve your storage! With the proper preparation, your boat will emerge into next season ready for action.