Your boat can ride out a Northwest winter right in your driveway or garage – no expensive moorage or dry-dock storage needed. As you wait for opening day to roll around again, here's what to do to safely store your boat at home:
- Wash and wax painted fiberglass boats. That's especially important if you're storing the boat outside.
- Change all fluids, and watch for metal shavings. If you have an outdrive, also look for discolored outdrive fluids. If you find either, take your boat to a repair shop for analysis.
- Remove the drain plug and raise the tongue of your trailer so any rainwater that seeps in can drain out.
- Fill, don't drain, fuel tanks. Add a fuel conditioner to prevent condensation and gummy, oxidized fuel.
- Remove your outboard engine and battery and store them in the garage.
- Remove and store electronic gear.
- Replace zinc anodes as necessary.
- Lubricate your trailer's wheel bearings and check tire pressure.
- On sailboats, remove and store the sails. Also make sure rigging isn't too tight on wooden masts, which can warp. Spray turnbuckles with a light lubricant, like WD-40.
- Cover your boat with a breathable canvas (not plastic) tarp. Before you do, crack the door or window slightly so air can circulate (helping prevent mold and mildew). Besides keeping moisture out, the tarp will protect untreated vinyl upholstery from breaking down in the sun's ultraviolet rays.
And for a truly worry-free offseason, check out these tips to protect your boat and trailer from theft.