It’s that time of year where you need to start thinking about putting your boat away for winter. If you live in a northern climate, this process is not optional and should be done each year to ensure your boat stays well-maintained and protected from the elements over the cold months. In this article, you will learn some tips on how you should prepare your boat before putting it away for winter.

There are many ways to store your boat if you have the proper equipment, but this article will be focused on how to properly prepare your boat at home without having any special tools or places to store the vessel. If you are looking for other options on where to put your boat instead of your driveway, this article should give you some ideas on how to store it.

Before winter hits, make sure that you drain all of the fluids from your boat. Engine oil especially needs to be drained before storing the boat for extended periods of time. Make sure that you remove any exterior components such as batteries and bilge pumps or autoloaders. If you have any safety equipment such as flares, first-aid kits, etc., make sure to store them with your boat so that they are ready to use if needed.

Before storing your boat for the winter, you must wash off all saltwater and contaminants from the vessel. Addressing this now will ensure that the rusting process starts before the winter freeze. You should also remove any debris that might catch water or snow in your boat when you are storing it. This includes wet towels, lifejackets, paddles.

After removing all of these parts/items from the vessel, wash down and dry her very well. Allow to air-dry for as long as possible before bringing the boat indoors, and above all, make sure that your storage area is extremely dry. Any moisture can lead to corrosion, so this step should not be skipped.

Once the vessel has been thoroughly dried and cleaned, you should store it in a way that will keep it up off of the ground and any puddles of water that might form. If you have a trailer for the boat, you can simply store it on the trailer and place some sort of tarp between the hull and any part of the trailer if your boat is stored outside.