In most climates, there are times where the fishing slows down and boats see less use. During these times, it is easy for deterioration to occur. Without proper care and preparation, the start to your next season will be plagued with costly repairs. Whether you’re wrapping your boat up to protect from the snow and ice, or performing maintenance to ensure it doesn't rust away in your backyard, preparing your boat for winter is always a necessity. Here are some tips on how to get your boat ready for the off season.
1. One Final Ride
If you plan on putting your boat up for a few months, perhaps the best thing you can do is take it out for one last spin. Instead of fishing or checking out the local scenery, take note of the issues you may have that can worsen on the trailer or in a slip. Jot down anything you would like to fix or change before next season.
Take everything out of the boat that doesn’t absolutely need to stay. Life vests, and other safety equipment are clearly fine. Random tackle or other commodities are great to take out. Getting your boat as tidy as possible makes the next steps much easier.
3. Deep Clean
Give your vessel a generous cleaning. Put some hard work into getting your boat as clean and fresh as possible. This will eliminate any potential issues of things getting nasty over a few months. This also includes the anchor, the trailer, and anything else exposed to the elements. It also helps get rid of any salt that may be lingering on deck if near the ocean.
4. Give it time to dry out
Putting gear away too quickly and closing all the hatches are great ways to get mildew or mold. Let it have some circulation and give it time to get dry fully.
5. Prepare your motor
Outboard or inboard, it is a great idea to do a detailed maintenance before storing. An oil change, filter replacement, and fluid top-off is the least you can do. It's also a good idea to fill your fuel tanks ¾ full and add stabilizer if you plan on your boat sitting a while. If you live in colder climates, make sure you use non-toxic antifreeze for your boat.