A Course for Safe Boating
Storing Your Boat and Trailer
Proper storage prevents rust, mildew, dry rot, damaged wheel bearings and
weathered tires. Before storing your boat and trailer for the winter season,
check out these tips:
If you cover your boat with a canvas tarp, prevent mildew and dry rot by
allowing air to circulate under the cover. Do not cover your boat before it
has dried. Do not use a nylon tarp, because it will trap moisture.
If your engine has an “open” cooling system, such as an outboard, flush it
with fresh water before storage.
If your engine has a “closed” cooling system, check the level of antifreeze
and fill the system if necessary.
Prevent water from collecting in the gas tank by filling the tank with gas.
Add a gasoline stabilizer to prevent gum from forming.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for protecting your engine from
winter weather. Wipe all metal surfaces with a lightly oiled rag.
Repack the trailer’s bearings if necessary and rinse the trailer with
Remove the drain plug before you store the boat.
If the trailer will be stored outside, cover the wheels to prevent sunlight
from damaging the tires.
Storage in the Water
If you store your boat in the water:
Put chafing gear on the mooring lines to prevent damage.
If necessary, adjust the mooring lines for all ranges of the tides and shifting
Even if you have a bilge pump, cover the boat because, during heavy rains,
the pump battery may wear out and the boat may fill with water and sink.
Do not store your boat where ice can form.
It is important to check your boat
several times throughout the winter,
especially after severe storms for
trapped moisture and pools of water
collecting on the cover.