How To Winterize a Boat

A white speed boat cruises on the waters of a lake, with a red, yellow, and orange sunset in the background.

Winter is quickly approaching, which means lower temperatures and fewer boating days, especially if you prefer to hit the lakes up north. If you’re planning on packing it in for the offseason, you may want to look into winter boat storage.

The Phoenix and Tucson areas usually don’t see as much of the rough winter weather that boaters in other parts of the country have to contend with, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the proper precautions before putting your boat away for an extended period of time. Boat winterizing is worth the effort for the peace of mind you’ll get knowing your investment is safe and that your boat will be ready for cruising when spring and summer come around. Read on for a quick guide to winterizing a boat and finding good boat parking storage in Arizona.

Drain the Engine

Without a healthy engine, your boat could turn into a very expensive raft. It only takes one cold snap to freeze the water in the engine’s cooling chambers, which in turn could cause the engine block and manifolds to fracture. To avoid a hefty repair bill, find the valves underneath the manifolds and next to the engine block, open them, and remove the hose from the bottom of the water pump until the engine is totally drained. You can also keep the engine extra safe by spraying it with fogging oil, which helps preserve its parts when it’s not being used.

A boat is stored next to a red RV inside of Arizona Self Storage’s fully-enclosed massive storage barn in Sahuarita

Change the Oil (Even If You Changed It Recently)

If you’re on top of your boat maintenance, you may have already changed your oil not too long ago, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change it again as part of the winterization process. The fresher your engine’s oil is, the better chance it has to hold up against idleness and winter weather. Changing it right before the offseason will keep your engine dry and prevent deterioration that could otherwise lead to issues with power and fuel efficiency.

Unhook the Batteries

You probably already know that marine batteries cost more than your typical road vehicle battery, but you probably don’t go very long without driving your car. Disconnecting your boat’s batteries before the offseason will stop energy from trickling out, making them last longer and helping you avoid the stress and cost of having to buy a replacement. Just imagine getting your boat out on the first day of the season, turning the key, and discovering that the battery is dead. Talk about a buzzkill!

Stabilize the Fuel

Old school boaters have long debated how much fuel you should leave in your boat for the offseason, but since the rise of ethanol, most experts agree that you should leave it around 90% full. With ethanol fuel, too much air in the tank means a higher risk of condensation, which can lead to fuel separation and damage your fuel system with nasty gunk. Regardless of how much fuel you decide to leave in there, you should definitely add some fuel stabilizers to prevent separation. You don’t have to get too fancy: Whatever standard-issue stabilizer your boat’s manufacturer recommends should do the trick. Once you’ve added some (the exact amount depends on how much fuel is in the tank), run the engine for a little while to let it work through the system. Keep an eye out for any leaks or other issues.

A man drives his boat out on the water towards a sunset, with massive hills appearing on the horizon.

Cover the Seats

You don’t technically need pristine upholstery in order to go boating, but why leave it exposed to the elements? Depending on the material, your upholstery could be highly vulnerable to sun damage, rain, and anything else mother nature might throw at it. Find some good-fitting seat covers to maximize your comfort when you finally hit the water again.

Winterizing A Boat With Arizona Self Storage

Congrats! You put in the work to protect your boat instead of just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. There’s one more step, though, and it’s an important one: finding a safe, secure place to store your boat. You may be tempted to just leave it in your driveway, but think of all the things that could fall onto, crash into, or otherwise mess with it while it’s sitting there, defenseless. Your garage might be an option if it’s big enough, but unless you’ve tricked it out with climate-control features, your boat could still be vulnerable to big fluctuations in temperature. And if your neighborhood has an HOA, it may prohibit storing boats on your property anyway.

Arizona Self Storage offers covered and uncovered RV and boat storage in the following areas:

Many of our premium storage facilities offer handy features like trickle charging for your watercraft’s battery and on-site dump stations. Our Sahuarita location even has a fully enclosed, air-cooled barn for your boat and other large vehicles.

Look for an Arizona Self Storage location near you, and if you’re ready to find boat parking storage for your newly winterized beauty, give us a call today.

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