As the weather turns colder, it is time for boaters in seasonal areas to begin winterizing their vessels. Based on whether your boat will be spending the season in or out of the water, preparations for wintertime storage vary.
For out-of-water storage, such as a boatyard or trailer, it is best to disconnect the battery and store it in a battery charger or a safe place at home. According to a BoatSafe.com article, the hull should be pressure washed and barnacles should be cleaned from props, rudders, struts and trim tabs. The seacocks should be opened to allow water to drain, and the hull should be checked for blisters that may need to be opened and drained over the winter.
For in-water storage, such as a slip at a marina, the battery should be left onboard (fully charged) so the bilge pump can continue to operate. Rudder shafts and stuffing boxes should be checked for leaks and tightened or repacked as needed. In addition to closing all seacocks, make sure bilge pumps are working and that the float switches properly activate pumps. And if you are unable to monitor the condition of the boat periodically, have the marina check the vessel and send a report.
Whether preparing a fishing boat or yacht, the more work you put into storing a boat, the easier it will be to get back on the water come springtime. For more helpful information on decommissioning your vessel, please read our article “Tips for Winterizing Your Watercraft.”