Winter Storage for boats and trailers
With the end of summer it's time to think about preparing your boat or trailer for storage. Doing this protects it from damage from the deep cold temperatures that can occur. Below is a list of what you should check and do to prepare your boat or trailer for the winter.
The most important thing with preparing a trailer for winter is to protect the water system from freezing. The best way to do that is to replace the water in the entire system with RV anti-freeze. Some people simply blow air through the system to remove the water, but that often leaves little pockets of water in places where the lines turn or bend. Using the RV anti-freeze is the best way to ensure your water system will not freeze.
As part of the water system protection, it is best to drain the hot water tank and toilet then fill them 1/4 of the way with RV anti-freeze. It is also important to pour some down each drain and through the toilet bowl as well. This will help keep the drain system from freezing as well.
If your trailer has a gray or black water tank, it is best to rinse them out then place 2 quarts of RV anti-freeze in each tank. If you have a water storage tank, that should be drained as well and filled 1/4 of the way with RV anti-freeze.
To prevent mice from seeking shelter in your trailer, place moth balls in plastic or paper cups in a few places in the trailer. It is also a good idea to spread some under the trailer once it has been parked for the winter.
Be sure to remove the battery and store on a piece of wood inside where it is warm. When spring comes around again, use a trickle charge on the battery to bring it up a full charge.
Remove all food and perishable items from the trailer, and then make sure all the windows are closed. When you're done, lock all the doors. Take the time to turn off the propane tanks. Some people also store their propane tanks inside where there's ventilation, such as a shed with vents.
At Spruce Grove, we offer winterization services for trailers and campers. Call for more information.
Winterization of boats varies from boat to boat, but here is a general guide to help you with winterizing your boats.
When removing your boat from the water for the end of the year, ensure there is no "seaweed" on the hull, propeller, and trailer. It's a good idea to use a pressure washer to clean the hull to prevent a "scum" buildup from happening over time. This will eventually cause added drag to your hull and slow you down as well as use more fuel.
Use fuel stabilizer in your gas tank(s) to keep the fuel in it from going stale. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle so you use the correct amount.
Depending on your engine, you may need to run RV anti-freeze through it to prevent the water in the engine from cracking the block. (Remember, boat engines don't normally use anti-freeze like a car engine. They draw cold water from the body of water you're in, circulate it through the engine to cool it off, then empties into the body of water again.)
Putting the RV anti-freeze varies from boat to boat. Check with your owner's manual for the proper way to do this. Although most outboard engines don't need to use RV anti-freeze, it might be a good idea to consider doing so.
Drain and replace the lower unit oil. This helps keep the bearings inside from running dry and seizing up.
With 2 cycle engines, use "fogging" oil to keep the inside of the cylinders from drying out over the winter.
With 4 cycle engines, change the engine oil and filter, and check the fuel filter as well. Most inboard/outboard (aka an I/O) use a special fuel filter that is known as a "water separator" filter. This kind of filter helps remove water from the fuel. With boats, there is a very a good chance water will get into the fuel tank, either when filling the tank or through some vents that go from the tank to outside of the boat's hull.
Remove the battery and store on a piece of wood inside where it is warm. When spring comes around, place the battery on a trickle charger to ensure the battery is fully charged.
Remove any towels, clothes, and other items that might hold water from inside the boat. Use a "wet-vac" to vacuum the floor to help dry it as much as possible. This is important because it any moisture left can cause the floor to warp or split.
To prevent mice from seeking shelter in your boat, place moth balls in a plastic or paper cup in the boat. If the boats are larger, you might need more than one of these. It is also a good idea to place a few moth balls under the boat when it's stored.
When you place the cover on your boat, make sure you have it on properly and secured properly.
At Spruce Grove, we offer winterization services for boats and trailers.