People commonly store their boats when the warm, sunny, and pleasant boating weather has faded away and the time comes to retire many water leisure activities. Storing your boat in the winter is an optimal choice if done properly. Similarly, when you are ready to park your RV or trailer for winter hibernation, self storage is a good idea, only if you take time to winterize.
It is necessary to winterize your boat to avoid costly repairs caused from moisture, freezing, cracks, dormancy, or other damage. Placing your RV or trailer into storage without any preparation is asking for trouble and you may have to do some expensive damage control later on. Taking the time to winterize may seem like a lot of work, but for such a valued piece of property as a boat, RV, or trailer, it is worth it.
Here are some very basic suggestions to winterize your boat, RV, or trailer. In addition, it is extremely important to consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions applicable to your model and make.
Boat winterizing checklist:
- Consult and follow the instructions in your boat manual for proper storage relevant to the specific needs of your boat’s model and make.
- Clean your boat well. Cleaning your boat will prevent residue build-up, or accumulation of odors from messes or dirty areas.
- Apply rust inhibitor on your metal, and steering and control cables.
- Repair all damages; allowing them to sit in disrepair may only worsen the problem over time.
- Remove electronics and store in dry and warm place.
- Avoid moisture; utilize climate control to keep away mildew. Prop open drawers and cabinets to allow air to move through them.
- Clean fabric items, and store them properly.
- Baking soda placed throughout the boat can help to absorb moisture.
- Drain fluid from manifolds, engine blocks, water pumps, coolers, port-a-potty, fresh water tank and hot water heater.
- Put non-toxic antifreeze into port-a-potty, water tank, and heater.
- Lubricate gearcase.
- Fill the gas tank and use antifreeze.
- Change the oil when the engine is warm.
- Change the transmission fluid.
- Remove spark plugs.
- Use “fogging oil” on each cylinder. Wipe down the engine with fogging oil or WD-40.
- To prevent rust, consider sanding the boat bottom and repainting.
- Disconnect the battery, clean it properly, and apply grease to the terminal ends. Use a trickle charger to keep it charged and store it in a dry place and away from concrete.
- Remove plants or barnacles from your stern drive, and investigate for cracks or holes.
- Clean your bilges, and keep them dry. Lubricate them with moisture-displacing spray. Add antifreeze.
- Use a boat cover with good ventilation for extra precaution
RV or trailer winterization checklist:
- Investigate your manual for storage instructions for directions that apply to your RV or trailer’s specific model or make.
- Take everything out that can be damaged by the winter frost or that may freeze, like any liquid containers. Remove electronics.
- Discourage pests by cleaning thoroughly, getting rid of any food residues. Clean the kitchen area thoroughly, and remove cooking grease.
- Wash all bedding and linens and store properly; clean and vacuum carpeting, floors, and seat cushions.
- Remove the water heater plug and put it somewhere safe. Drain the water heater tank. If your water heater has a bypass system, turn the valves away from the tank.
- Drain all water tanks and treat the entire water system with anti-freeze.
- Drain all water hoses.
- Remove your battery if possible and store away safely.
- Keep your propane tanks full for possible winter usage.
- Re-caulk and seal peeling or cracked exteriors.
- Wash the exterior thoroughly and wax if necessary.
- Oil and lubricate stabilizer jacks and slide units.
- Clean tire, and apply tire sealer to prevent dry rot.
Following these suggestions along with consulting your owner’s manual, should keep your boat, RV, or trailer in great condition.
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