Nothing beats a day on the lake, skipping over the water and letting the family take turns water skiing or just trolling to and from your favorite fishing holes. One day on the water helps remind you just why you invested your hard earned cash in a boat. But no matter what you actually use your boat for, or what kind of boat you have, you’ll want to take steps to protect your investment. It doesn’t matter if you have a fishing boat or a pontoon, a john boat or a canoe, taking a little time to store your boat properly when the winter comes is important.
It’s also a bit easier than most people realize. Winterizing a boat and getting it ready to be stored doesn’t have to be a huge time investment. It will take a few hours to do it properly, but when you consider just how much you’ve spent on your watercraft it makes a lot more sense to protect it against the elements. And following a basic shutdown or winterization procedure, along with the use of a quality boat cover, will safeguard your boat against all of the elements, whether it’s sun, rain, snow, or just a hard freeze in the air.
To start with, make sure that you take the time to actually clean the boat. The exterior should be first. If you have taken the boat out on saltwater this is even more important since the salt can do major damage to your hull and finish. Be sure that you use proper brushes and the right cleaning solutions. Plenty of people have made the mistake of using dish soap only to find out that they actually damage the boat’s finish even more than the sun does. It can take time, but go over every inch of your boat’s exterior and clean it completely before you put a boat cover on so you don’t have to worry about it when spring rolls around and you get the boat ready to go.
The interior is important as well. Spilled drinks, dirt, and other substances can build up in the interior of your boat and if ignored can cause major damage. Vacuum the interior thoroughly and then give extra attention to any troublesome spots. Leaves and debris should always be removed as well. Whether it’s interior or exterior, be sure to pay special attention to any wood dream, decking, or ladders. Wood should be cleaned to remove any substances that may cause rot or decay over the winter months, and this cleaning process also protects against any mold or mildew that may occur beneath a boat cover on an improperly cleaned boat.
Engine care is important as well. Degrease the engine and think about any extra additives that should be used in the engine. In most cases this is better left to the pros, so be sure that you think about letting a boat mechanic take care of your engine. Ignoring engine care during winterization could cost you big when spring comes, and it’s vital that you don’t overlook it. Also, be sure that if the boat cover you’re planning on using doesn’t cover your engine that you buy a separate engine cover to shield your expensive motor from the harsh winter weather.
Finally, you’re ready to cover your boat. Find a boat cover that matches your type of boat and your boat’s size perfectly. Also be sure to go with a heavier duty cover instead of a cheap, thin version. This is an investment to protect your major investment, so be sure that you don’t cut corners. Find a quality cover and use it properly. If you’ll keep these steps in mind during winterization, that first trip back onto the water will be hassle free.