Each year, as the boating season is winding down, is a good time for California boat owners to start thinking about winter storage options. Whether you’re a first time owner preparing for your first winter, or a seasoned boating vet who has a plan all prepared, we’ve got some tips that might help.
How you prepare your boat for storage will differ depending on where and how you are storing it. The most common ways people store a boat are:
Outside, on a trailer at home
In the garage
In a dedicated storage facility
For the purposes of this article, we’re not going to count leaving your boat in the water as a storage method. If you keep your boat in the water, you’ll need to maintain it more or less the same way you would the rest of the year.
For each of the storage methods we’ve described, we have a handful of tips that you can read over to help you prepare your boat for the cold months ahead.
Storing Your Boat On A Trailer At Home
This is often the simplest and most common winter boat storage solution for many boat owners. The benefits of this method are mainly affordability and convenience. By storing your boat on a trailer at home, you can easily keep an eye on it and there are no storage fees.
Shrink-wrapping your boat is a must to protect against moisture and mildew
Fill your trailer tires to prevent flats during the winter
Make sure your boat is completely dried out to prevent ice damage
Run antifreeze through the water systems and put fuel stabilizer in the gas tank
Remove the battery and use a trickle charger
Keep in mind that with this storage method, you’ll have limited protection from the elements. Your boat will be at higher risk of damage from pests, vandals, and thieves as well. Finally, some homeowners associations may not permit you to store your boat in your driveway.
Storing Your Boat In Your Home Garage
If you have space in your garage, and your boat is small enough to fit, this is a great option. Attached garages will absorb heat from your house (separate garages will not, unless they’re heated independently) which will prevent them from freezing overnight.
This method offers the same primary advantages as the previous option, but with the added benefit of much better protection (in theory) from pests and vandalism.
Prepare your boat for winter by filling and flushing your boat's systems with antifreeze
Protect your boat from rodents by repairing any holes in the garage foundation
Charge your battery and test it monthly on a trickle charger
Tarping your boat for winter storage is crucial to keeping it safe from dust and pests, even inside a garage
The biggest drawback to this method is the space your boat will take up in your garage. In many cases, boat owners have to choose between storing their boat or keeping their car in the garage. Finally, this method is only an option for those will smaller size boats, unless you happen to have a particularly large garage.
Dedicated Boat Storage (Dry Stacked Storage)
A dedicated indoor boat storage facility, often referred to as dry stacked storage, is often the safest way to store and protect your boat during the winter. In a dedicated boat storage facility, your boat is guaranteed to be protected from the elements 24/7. There is typically around-the-clock security monitoring as well.
Here at GoldKey Marine, we also offer our clients a range of additional options to complement our standard storage service. This includes services like winterizing your boat for you, physical inspection and maintenance of your boat and trailer, and transportation services if you want to have your boat delivered to Lake Tahoe or Folsom Lake.
Keep your boat protected with a waterproof cover
Make sure all valuables and other items are removed from your boat
For extended storage, consider removing batteries and placing them on trickle chargers
Check with the facility about fuel tank requirements for fire prevention
Keep in mind that, depending on the facility and the level of service your purchase, there may be limits to how often you can take your boat out each month. While this option provides the most protection for your boat, it is not available in all areas and will likely be the most expensive solution to use.
Taking these steps will make it easier for you to de-winterize your boat when the boating season restarts.